Check out the big brain on Toronto. Stratford, Ont., must also be wearing its smarty pants proudly right now. Both Canadian cities are among seven finalists from around the world vying for the title of Intelligent Community of the Year.
The Intelligent Community Forum, a New York-based think tank that examines the “economic and social development of the 21st Century community,” according to its website, has whittled the list of contenders down from more than 400. The five other finalists are Columbus, Ohio; Oulu, Finland; Taichung City, Taiwan; Tallinn, Estonia; and Taoyuan County, Taiwan.
No London? New York? Hong Kong? San Francisco?
“Intelligent Communities are those which have – whether through crisis or foresight – come to understand the enormous challenges of the Broadband Economy, and have taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in it. They are not necessarily big cities or famous technology hubs,” the ICF said, according to the Daily Mail.
Cities contending for the title are judged on a broad range of criteria, including providing broad band connectivity to households, being digitally inclusive by offering computer access to the public and the education of its citizens and their access to future learning.
“They are not the most advanced technology centres, the most wired cities or the fastest growing economies in the world. Instead, each exemplifies best practices in broadband deployment and use, workforce development, innovation, digital inclusion and advocacy that offers lessons to regions, cities, towns and villages around the world. They are charting new paths to lasting prosperity for their citizens, businesses and institutions,” the ICF said.
Last year, the honour went to Riverside, California.
This year’s winner will be named later this spring. Stratford was in the running last year and in 2011, but has yet to claim the top prize. As tragedies go, the two losses aren’t exactly Shakespearean, but the city would obviously love to win the contest this time around.