Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year as determined by the judges of the Intelligent Community Forum. This was the third year that Toronto reached the finals and the Top7 Intelligent Communities list (previously in 2005, and 2013). It is the first Canadian city to capture the Intelligent Community Forum’ s global award since 2007, when another Ontario community, Waterloo, was named.
Toronto was selected after a year-long evaluation that included quantitative analysis of extensive data on the community, site inspections by co-founders of the Intelligent Community Forum, and the votes of an international jury made up primarily of non-Canadians.
Toronto certainly earned its place as the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year. It proved that in a democracy an Intelligent Community can move forward despite challenges to the quality of its leadership and its image. It is why democracies thrive, even in difficult times. Toronto was selected because it performed impressively against a set of diverse criteria and focused its academic, creative and private sectors, as well as its City Council leadership on the work and continued success of the entire community. said co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, Lou Zacharilla.
The Intelligent Community Forum is an independent think tank and presented the awards as part of its annual Summit. This year’s Summit was attended by nearly 250 thought leaders from around the world, including the world’ s 2014 Top7 Intelligent Communities and previous Intelligent Communities of the Year, including New York, Waterloo, Eindhoven and Taichung. The event was produced in association with New York University’ s Polytechnic Institute. Mayors, city managers, CIOs, and executives of leading technology companies from around the world, as well as academics and urban planners, are part of the Intelligent Community movement and participated in the three-day Summit (www.icfsummit.com).
Intelligent Community of the Year 2014 Snapshot: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Toronto has both the assets and the liabilities that come with being Canada’ s largest city. On the asset side is its diverse economy, with key clusters in finance, media, ICT and film production, and success as a magnet for immigrants that have made it one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Major carriers offer high-quality broadband to 100% of residents, and its five major universities and multiple colleges have attracted 400,000 students and helped ensure that Toronto has more residents with undergraduate degrees than London, England.
Toronto is challenged by the highest cost of living in Canada and transportation gridlock that gives GTA residents the world’ s longest average commute times. These factors have contributed to the success of suburbs in attracting new and existing businesses. To reverse this trend, Toronto is doubling down on the value of a dense, superbly equipped and culturally rich urban experience. The centerpiece is Waterfront Toronto, North America’ s largest urban renewal project, which is revitalizing 800 hectares of brownfield shoreline with 40,000 residential units, parks and one million square meters of commercial space designed to the highest environmental standards. Offering 1 Gbps fiber-based broadband’“ provided at no cost to the 10% of housing set aside for low-income residents ‘“ the Waterfront is expected to offer a home to 40,000 new knowledge industry jobs. Early commercial tenants include Corus Entertainment and the George Brown College Health Sciences campus.
Though impressive in size and scale, the Waterfront is only the most visible of many public-private collaborations through which the city is pursuing an ICT-powered future. The MaRS Discovery District supplies housing, incubation, acceleration and investment services to hundreds of early stage portfolio companies downtown, while the Ryerson University Digital Media Zone gives entrepreneurs space and services to move great ideas to initial commercial success. The Centre for Social Innovation does the same for social innovators and its successful model has led to operations across four locations in two countries. Toronto’ s libraries offer computers and training to tens of thousands, while outreach programs equip families with inexpensive IT, connectivity and training. With C$2 billion planned for transportation investment over the next 25 years, Toronto is preparing the physical, human and digital infrastructure for continued success.
Source: Intelligent Community Forum