Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has announced its list of the Smart21 Communities of 2008. The list includes communities from 14 nations, with first-time entries from Puerto Rico, Qatar and South Africa. Three of the communities named to the 2007 Top Seven list (Tallinn, Dundee and the Gangnam District of Seoul) again appear among the 2008 Smart21.
According to ICF, this year’s list represents the full range of economic development efforts based on information technology and telecommunications taking place around the world, including communities taking their first major steps toward becoming an Intelligent Community based on ICF’ s indicators or criteria.
Listed in alphabetical order, the 2008 Smart21 are:
- Ashland, Oregon, USA ‘“ Returns to the list for the second consecutive year. Its Ashland Fiber Network is deployed as an open network and supports a diversified base of service providers, which drove a 31% net increase in new business licenses and support an impressive focus on maintaining an environmentally-friendly growth policy.
- Barceloneta, Puerto Rico ‘“ A “well-kept” secret in terms of its attraction to technology oriented businesses, the community of 22,000 has become one of the largest and most important hubs for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology processes in the world.
- Cape Town, South Africa ‘“ The first South African entry to ICF’s list of 21 has thriving ICT, media and call center industries supporting a community of 3.2 million where the digital divide is great. In 2002, only 14% of the population had Internet access. A new fiber network is anticipated to create and establish 250,000 jobs.
- Doha (Ad-Dawhah), Qatar ‘“ Despite an increase in output since 1999, oil reserves will be depleted by 2020. In anticipation of this, Doha, the national capitol, has committed nearly 3% of GDP to science and technology initiatives, including Education City, which are beginning to build a society driven by knowledge work.
- Dublin, Ohio, USA ‘“ The city of 40,000, named one of the “hottest places to live” has expanded on the network it created (DubLink) and has formed partnerships with a range of research entities, including the Ohio Supercomputer Center. It also boasts a successful new WiFi network.
- Dundee, Scotland ‘“ Has continued to transform a former shipbuilding community that suffered severe economic shocks into a national powerhouse and leader in game design and sciences. The city launched a “digital observatory” project in 2007 to move the community to the next level of connectedness.
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada ‘“ The community has begun to realize its economic potential and has put the use of broadband and technology in the center. Cited for its historic establishment of computerized medical records, nanotechnology growth and the partnerships between organizations that have commercial discoveries, yielding 70 active spin-off companies and over 1,000 new jobs.
- Eindhoven, The Netherlands ‘“ Using the familiar brand name “Brainport,” the community boasts 70,000 jobs in high-technology and other industries and leads the nation in all categories, including R&D investments.
- Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada ‘“ A community of 81,000 that was named the “smartest in North America” by Cisco, Fredericton has used its community network to leverage traditional strengths in forestry and agriculture with new technology. Cited for its goal to use broadband to enhance “e-democracy” for a new generation of citizens.
- Gangnam-gu District, Seoul, South Korea ‘“ A leading community and district, which drives 25% of all economic activity within Seoul and is the heart of its e-government innovations. They recently commercialized a new wireless broadband Internet service, called “Wibro,” combining mobility and high-speed for a range of business, social and digital divide functions.
- Gold Coast City, Australia ‘“ Long-range planning and strategy have enabled this long and narrow city, without a central business district, to use broadband to continue to balance its tourist economy. A broadband expansion project has extended access to 2,000 businesses and coverage now exceeds 95%.
- Hammarby Sjostad, Sweden ‘“ The newest district and community in Sweden, Hammarby Sjostad has incorporated “future proofing” principles based on ICF’ s vision. It boasts the first broadband network in Europe to be “Access Directive” compliant under new EU rules.
- Hwa Seong Dong Tan, Korea ‘“ The second Korean community on the 2008 list, Hwaseong and its new Dong Tan community incorporates the vision of the “U-City” where information access will be ubiquitous. The community is using IT to make its own construction a model of efficiency.
- Hyderabad, India ‘“ The community is experiencing tremendous growth and has become a destination for IT businesses. Its vision is to become a complete knowledge hub by 2020, building on its current broadband network and, realizing the gap that remains in the community, to offer access to every citizen through a technology organization managed by the State government.
- Isle of Man, UK (Crown Protectorate) ‘“ 93% of the residents on this Crown Dependency are satisfied with the quality of life. Through innovative use of clustering and technology, it again is one of the most successful economies in Europe, using technology in support of its robust banking, finance and space-related industries.
- Malta ‘“ The smallest EU country may be the surprise choice of this year’ s Smart21. It supports an ICT industry of 200 companies and 6,000 workers and, in support of an aggressive plan to produce knowledge workers and keep its lead in innovation, offers free education to its citizens and community technology learning centers in cooperation with Microsoft and other tech companies.
- Northeast Ohio, USA ‘“ The communities of this region of Ohio, under the inspiration of Cleveland-based OneCommunity and a collaborative group of non-profits and other stakeholders, especially in the healthcare sector, have accelerated the pace of institutions connected to their innovative network platform, enabling an impressive recovery in the regional economy.
- Tallinn, Estonia ‘“ Broadband and “e-services” have continued to sustain a services sector which dominates the economy. One of the first countries in post-Soviet Eastern Europe to receive foreign investments in telecom, Estonia continues to make leaps, with 100% connectivity in its schools, over 1,000 WiFi hotspots and an integrated remote management healthcare network.
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada ‘“ With its record low unemployment and a rapid rate of growth, this city of 587,891 is enjoying good fortune all around. Its technology industry, especially small businesses, are outpacing the number of workers available. A new private-sector based broadband wireless initiative will a support a comprehensive technology plan and its website won a “Best e-Government” award from the UN which will help the community absorb the activity surrounding its hosting of the 2010 Olympic Games.
- Westchester County, New York, USA ‘“ The county north of New York City is a complex mix of 43 different cities and towns from every walk of life. From it “platinum mile,” headquarters to major international corporations such as IBM to heavily-forested communities, where workers live and contribute to the greater NY regional engine, Westchester County (pop. 949,335) has used on of the nation’ s most efficient telecommunications networks and broadband structures, as well as the Internet, to effectively serve its citizens (with a special emphasis on the non-English speaking population) and to connect 3,500 businesses in a dizzyingly complex governing environment.
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA ‘“ Through an exemplary set of relationships among the non-profit, academic and private sectors, Winston-Salem, situated in Forsyth County, has led the “tobacco state” in areas which impact its citizens’ life in the broadband economy. This includes a high-speed regional networking hub connecting its world-class universities, with an emphasis on using its network to promote advanced education, technology initiatives and its traditional quality of life.
The Smart21 announcement is the first stage of ICF’s annual Intelligent Community of the Year awards cycle. It is followed by the naming of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year, selected from among the Smart21, in January 2008. The cycle concludes in New York City on May 16, 2008 during the annual Building the Broadband Economy summit, where one of the 21 will succeed Waterloo as Intelligent Community of the Year.