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The Birth of the Intelligent Community

On June 7, over 250 global local government leaders gathered at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU for the annual Intelligent Communities Forum, an event that recognizes the tremendous efforts of local government leaders.  What is an intelligent community?

Glad you asked….

Intelligent communities are sweeping the globe, and they seem to be challenging large cities.  It’s no longer about the sheer size of urban areas, instead it’s about how citizens engage and interact with the city, actively providing feedback to the government and making it a true community.

There are two critical components to these up-and-coming intelligent communities: innovative government leaders and engaged citizens.  The common thread among the communities awarded this year at ICF was that they all made new investments in technology and innovation to grow their local economies, and they listened to and requested feedback from citizens. Being a successful intelligent community means investing in new requirements, not reallocating budget, but committing to entirely new investments.

Most of these communities were dependent on an economy that was not growing rapidly enough to compete with larger cities and attract new businesses and citizens. By creating technology task forces and hubs of innovation for small businesses and investing in new technology pathways for education to expand their reach locally and nationally, government leaders have revitalized their local economies and become highly competitive in attracting citizens and businesses.

Riverside California, a suburb of Los Angeles, was the winner of this year’s Intelligent Communities Award, and once you read their story as published on the Intelligent Community Forum site, you will see why they received their honor.  You can also check out the video that ICF published:

Another great example is the city of Oulou in Scandanavia.  This video was also published by ICF:

It’s clear that the challenges most large and small urban areas are facing need to be approached with a new leadership philosophy that involves real time citizen interaction and strong public private partnerships.  Kudos to government leaders who are making their communities more intelligent for the next generation, we will keep an eye on the growth of these communities and the birth of new ones around the globe.

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2 Comments.


  1. Smita Dave

    Agree Julie. There are several such young towns and municipalities around the world that are leading the way. A shining example is Rivas, a European town in Spain that grew from 500 inhabitants to a modern and innovative town of 75000 in 2 decades. Today the town is a Smart+Connected city with its cutting edge technologies, empowered citizens, and green infrastructures. Another example is Cleveland County of USA that built a Smart+Connected environment that would benefit the community at large. And there are several more….

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    • Smita:
      Interesting to read about Rivas in Spain. Perhaps Cisco can pick a couple of small towns in India to showcase what an Intelligent Town can do. Perhaps some place in Bihar or Jharkhand that are relatively backward.
      How is Frisco trading you? Best wishes,
      Harish

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