The Intelligent Community Forum (www.intelligentcommunity.org) has announced Winnipeg as part of their 2012 Smart21 list. The list consists of the worlds top 21 Intelligent Communities based on a the 2012 theme “innovation”.
The Smart21 announcement is the first stage in ICF’s annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle. Based on nominations submitted by communities large and small from around the world, ICF selects 21 finalists with the potential to become one of the Forum’s Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year. The Smart21 list is announced at least 60 days before the selection of the Top Seven and promoted to the world’s media by ICF and the communities involved. Gaining a place among the year’s Smart21 is considered a badge of honor as well as the first step greater recognition as an Intelligent Community positioned to prosper in the broadband economy.
This marks Winnipeg’s second year in a row making it onto the Smart21 list.
The Smart21 of 2012
The 2012 honorees include 4 communities from Europe, 10 from North America, 3 from Latin America, and 4 from Asia. Over half are communities that appear on the list for the first time. Of the 2012 list, 10 have appeared among the Smart21 before, which is typical of the ICF’s awards programs, as communities continue to demonstrate progress in their quest to be named Intelligent Community of the Year.
The Smart21 of 2012 are:
* Arlington County, Virginia, USA
* Austin, Texas, USA
* Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
* Columbus Region, Ohio, USA
* Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
* Dakota County, Minnesota, USA
* Danville, Virginia, USA
* Durango, Mexico
* Frankfurt, Hesse, Germany
* Heraklion, Crete, Greece
* Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
* New Taipei City, Taiwan
* Oulu, Finland
* Prospect, South Australia, Australia
* Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
* Riverside, California, USA
* Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
* Stratford, Ontario, Canada
* Taichung City, Taiwan
* Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico
* Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
The ICF write up on Winnipeg’s selection:
[quote]Located at the beginning of Canada’s great and fertile western plains, Winnipeg got its start as a grain trading center. The city dominates the rural province of Manitoba, containing 62% of its population and producing 64% of its GDP. It is a city with a diversified economy, from finance to manufacturing to tourism, but where agriculture runs through the economy and culture like a deep river. Community leaders have identified as key challenges an increasing shortage of qualified workers and shortfalls in its ecosystem for innovation. Provincial government has helped with one issue by offering an income tax rebate to university students who remain in the province after graduation. An IT association operates another program that eases immigration for skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs. Winnipeg also seeks to tap the talents of its aboriginal or First Nations population. With broadband already available to 85% of premises, a Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is helping community-based ISPs to extend coverage to 67 rural towns and villages. The University of Winnipeg and partners have developed a yearlong training program to prepare First Nations students for careers in IT, and graduated its first class in 2010. To stimulate more start-ups, the University, province, city and businesses have partnered in a broad range of institutes, research centers and tech parks to generate and commercialize new intellectual property. The range of industries is diverse, but agriculture and environment predominate. The Composite Innovations Center is one example. A business-university joint venture, it seeks to develop and commercialize composite structure with uniquely valuable properties from naturally occurring materials. It is involved with more than 80 industrial clients and has developed and transferred more than 10 new technologies to the private sector. By leveraging its historic strengths, Winnipeg expects to create a future far more prosperous than its past.[endquote]