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From smart city to intelligent community

Australian and Finnish cities are also named in the think-tank’s top seven communities of 2018

Chiayi City is one of three Taiwan cities named in the Top7 Intelligent Communities
Chiayi City is one of three Taiwan cities named in the Top7 Intelligent Communities

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has named the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018. This is the think tank’s 16th annual Top7 list of regions, cities or towns that have gone, in ICF’s words, “from smart city to intelligent community.”


This year’s list includes communities from four nations, with Taiwan contributing three, Canada two communities and Australia and Finland one each. The seven will travel to London in June where one will go on to be named the Intelligent Community of the Year, succeeding Melbourne, Australia, the reigning community.


The announcement will take place as the culminating event at the ICF Global Summit from 4-6 June at Siemens’ Crystal Facility and other sites around London.


In alphabetical order, the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 are:


Chiayi City, Taiwan
Espoo, Finland
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Tainan City, Taiwan
Taoyuan, Taiwan
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


Three of the Top7 are making their first appearance on the list: Espoo, Hamilton and Tainan City. Another three make their third appearance: Ipswich, Taoyuan and Winnipeg. Chiayi City is making its second. The awards programme drives communities to make substantial progress from year to year, so it is not unusual for a community to continue to enter the programme. There is no cost to enter.


"The successor to Melbourne will come from one of four countries this year,” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla. “Even though these places are diverse and spread across the world, they share an emphatic effort to use broadband, open data and other digital tools to humanise policy and remove anxiety from daily life.


"Even though technology is a key driver of growth and public service and infrastructure management, people today sense that their dignity and our true development comes when it is put in service of every individual citizen. These seven long ago dared to stake that claim for their future. The results are wonderful."


The ICF Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 will be featured throughout the ICF Global Summit on 4-6 June in London. Representatives from the top seven will take part in Economic Development Matchmaking sessions, workshops and roundtables, special conversations detailing their stories, receptions honouring the Top7 and a dinner to name the Intelligent Community of the Year. Following are brief profiles for this year’s 2018 Top7 Intelligent Communities.


Chiayi City, Taiwan: Chiayi is a provincial city of 270,000 in southcentral Taiwan, midway between Taichung and Tainan. Ninety-five per cent of its economy is in the services sector – wholesale and retail, transportation and warehousing, and accommodation and food – which employs three-quarters of the workforce.


After Chiayi was ranked as having the worst air quality in Taiwan in 2014, Mayor Twu Shiing-jer, a physician, dedicated his administration to improving life in the city in this and many other areas. What followed was a clean air initiative, a roll-out of a broadband network with over 1,000 wi-fi hotspots throughout the city, a new focus on digital education, and more.


Espoo, Finland: In the far northern nations of the world, people tend to cluster southward. Espoo, Finland’s second largest city, lies on the border of its biggest city and national capital, Helsinki. In 1950, Espoo was a regional municipality of 22,000, which drew its name from the Swedish words for the aspen tree and for river.


Today, Espoo is still a place on a river bordered by aspen trees. While it is an industrial city of 270,000, it retains its dispersed, regional nature, however, being made of up of seven population hubs arrayed along the border with Helsinki, where many of its citizens work.


Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: The Golden Horseshoe is the region that bends around the westernmost end of Lake Ontario in Canada. At the centre of the horseshoe’s curve is Hamilton, a city of 520,000 known for industry, education and cultural diversity, having the third-largest foreign-born population in Canada.


Located 70km southwest of Toronto (the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year), Hamilton was once known as the Steel Capital of Canada, producing 60 per cent of the nation’s steel. It is also a successful lake port city and operates an airport that saw passenger traffic grow tenfold from 1996 to 2002. A 30-year economic development plan begun in 2003 set the goal of creating a massive aerotropolis industrial park around that airport to capitalise on its success.


Ipswich, Queensland, Australia: In 2011, the city of Ipswich published a 20-year economic development plan for its population of 195,000. It forecast the addition of 292,000 new residents, who will require an additional 120,000 jobs, and will live in a network of distinct communities interwoven with centres of employment, recreational facilities and green space. Because Ipswich offered affordable housing and an attractive lifestyle, its population has grown rapidly in the booming economy of 21st Century Australia.


Tainan City, Taiwan: If you have ever eaten a bowl of instant noodles, you owe a debt to Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin Foods and inventor of this staple of Asian fast food, who was born and raised in Tainan City. This city of 1.9 million was the historic capital of Taiwan and the cultural heritage of centuries remains one of Tainan’s most important assets that drives a thriving tourist industry.


Tainan today, however, is about much more than the past. It is home to multiple science and technology parks including the Southern Taiwan Science Park, Tainan Technology Park and Shugu LCD Park. The tenant rolls are dominated by optoelectronics, integrated circuits, green energy and biotech companies, which together with more traditional manufacturing generate more than half of the city’s economic activity.


Taoyuan, Taiwan: From the Taoyuan International Airport on its northwest corner to its mountainous and thinly populated southeast, Taoyuan is home to two million people and 47,000 companies including one-third of the nation’s top 500 manufacturers. By nourishing local innovation, attracting international entrepreneurs, and building an ever-growing infrastructure for clean energy production, Taoyuan is preparing its people, organisations and environment for global competition.


Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Located midway between the two coasts of Canada, Winnipeg is the capital of a province rich in agricultural and natural resources. In the 21st Century, the city is pursuing economic growth by better connecting industry and education, while better equipping its large aboriginal population for opportunity.


The city has pursued economic growth by connecting industry and education more systematically and leveraging its indigenous geographical and cultural assets. A public-private R&D organisation develops technologies and supply chains for high-performance composites based on agricultural materials, while there has been a programmatic attempt to equip its large aboriginal population with digital tools.


Before being selected as a Top7 Intelligent Community, these cities were among those named to ICF’s list of the Smart21 Communities of the Year. Candidates are evaluated based on seven criteria: six Intelligent Community Indicators, which provide the conceptual framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community’s competitiveness and point to its success in what the Intelligent Community Forum calls, The Broadband Economy; and an annual theme.


The 2018 theme is Humanising Data, which explores the intersection between big data and open data, and the impacts of a data-driven economy on communities.



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