Intelligent Community of the Year

ICF names the Intelligent Community of the Year at its annual ICF Summit.  The selection of the Intelligent Community of the Year culminates the 12-month cycle of the Intelligent Community Awards.

The Intelligent Community of the Year is selected from among the Top7 Intelligent Communities named in February.  From February through June, ICF submits detailed data provided by each community to an independent research company, which helped ICF develop the original metrics for the award program. This company conducts a quantitative analysis of the information on dozens of factors and produces an aggreggate score for each community.

Simultaneously, the founders of ICF visit each of the Top7 to validate the information they provided and prepare reports, which are reviewed by an international jury of former Intelligent Communities of the Year, government officials, business leaders, academics and consultants involved in the Intelligent Community movement.  The jury ranks each of the communities, and ICF combines this qualitative ranking with the quantitative scoring of the research company to produce the final selection.

The Awards ceremony at the ICF Summit also includes an address by the Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year.

The Intelligent Communities of the Year

2016: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The largest French-speaking city in North America, the Montreal Metro Area is home to more than a tenth of Canada’s population. The region was hit by the decline of heavy industry in the Eighties, and launched a large-scale transition of its economy to ICT, aerospace, life sciences, health technologies and clean tech. Together, these clusters contain more than 6,250 companies employing about 10% of the workforce. A Smart City plan introduced in 2011 is the most recent contributor to this transition. It focuses on further build-out of the city’s wired and wireless broadband infrastructure, as well as deploying technology to make city services and systems more efficient and creating a collaborative ecosystem involving business, institutions and citizens.

2015: Columbus, Ohio, USA

Columbus is a city of sharp contrasts. The capital of the state of Ohio, it has the highest metropolitan concentration of Fortune 1000 companies in America and is the home of the research school Ohio State University (OSU) and Battelle, the world’s biggest private research institute. But the city also has a large, low-income population stranded by the decline of low-skilled factory employment . Columbus is attacking these challenges on multiple fronts and through collaboration among government, education, business and institutions. The collaboration plays out in broadband, in education, business startup and acceleration, and programs to create a better quality of life for all citizens.

2014: 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 and success as a magnet for immigrants that have made it one of the most multicultural cities in the world.  On the liability side are the high cost of living and transportation gridlock that gives residents of the region the world’s longest average commute times. To reverse this trend, Toronto is doubling down on the value of a dense, superbly equipped and culturally rich urban experience.

2013: Taichung City, Taiwan

When the city and county of Taichung merged in 2010, it created a huge metropolis uniting completely different economies: a major seaport city where 70% of employees work in services, and a rural county where 50% work in industry and agriculture is a significant source of income.  The city’s leadership, under Mayor Chih-Chiang (Jason) Hu, was determined to create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.

2012: Riverside, California, USA

Searching for sustainable growth, the bedroom community of Riverside is building a tech-based economy. The community has partnered with its universities to develop tech parks, incubators, business accelerators and mentoring programs. Carriers have deployed fiber and wireless networks reaching 80% of the city. A $1.6 billion revitalization program begun in 2006 is improving traffic flow, replacing aging water, sewer and electric infrastructure, and improving police, fire, parks and libraries.

2011: Eindhoven, Netherlands

The Eindhoven Region has long been Netherland’s industrial heartland. The region has its edge through Brainport, a public-private program that has turned the region into an open innovation platform, added 55,000 jobs in the past 10 years, nearly quadrupled high-tech start-ups since 2000, and helped the region weather the financial crisis.

2010: Suwon, South Korea

Suwon has created an economy whose growth is based on small-to-midsize enterprises specializing in IT, biotech and nanotechnology. Today, two-thirds of Suwon companies specialize in one of its targeted industries and companies with 50 or fewer employees make up 94% of all employers in the city.

2009: Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, on Sweden’s south-central east coast, has been Sweden´s political, cultural and economic center since the 1200s. One out of every eleven Swedes lives in Stockholm, and in the first decade of the new century, their city has continued to find ways to make “big” work better.

2008: Gangnam District, Seoul, South Korea

The district contains only 2.5% of Seoul’s population but produces 25% of its gross domestic product. Gangnam’s development as an Intelligent Community began in 1995, when the district launched its first “electronic government” project. The system has made possible a 25% reduction in the local government’s employment since 1995 and has saved citizens time worth 28.5bn won (US$30m).

2007: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Waterloo, best known as the home of BlackBerry developer Research in Motion is a city of 115,000 that is the smallest, geographically speaking, of seven cities that make up Canada’s Technology Triangle. But with only 10% of the labor force in the Triangle, it accounts for 45% of job growth and is home to 40% of the high-tech firms in the region.

2006: Taipei, Taiwan

A city of 2.6 million, Taipei operates 88 tech incubators and 45 R&D center, including the Nangang Software Park, where over 2,000 firms generate US$47 billion in sales. Taipei attracts investment and new business through a strategy that combines low-cost communications, highly-skilled knowledge workers who produce digital products efficiently, and growing capability for ubiquitous broadband.

2005: Mitaka, Japan

mitakaMitaka, Japan, a suburb of Tokyo, has a population of 173,000. It was the first city in Japan to host a field test of fiber-to-the-home, and its cable TV company became the first ISP in Japan to offer broadband in 1996.  The community has a tradition of active citizen participation when it comes to developing its infrastructure.

2004: Glasgow, Scotland, UK


Glasgow, Scotland was a leader in Britain’s Industrial Revolution and one of the richest cities in Europe.  But in the post-war years, the city suffered the intense decline common to many former industrial centers, as industries from shipbuilding and mining to heavy manufacturing lost their competitiveness.  In the 1980s, this city of over 600,000 people began a transformation of its economy, backed by large-scale government investment in redevelopment.

2002: Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Seoul, South Korea

calgaryCalgary is a western city of 900,000 people that is one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada.  Leading the charge to build a Digital Age economy for the community is the public-private corporation, Calgary Technologies.  Its projects include Calgary INFOPORT, the Calgary Innovation Center, and the Alastair Ross Technology Center incubator.


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In 2001, Frost & Sullivan named South Korea the world’s leader in broadband deployment, and Seoul, the capital and primary population center, is the hotbed of the phenomenon.  Residents have been inculcated with the “broadband lifestyle,” according to Frost & Sullivan, and spend an average of 13 hours on the Internet each week.

2001: New York, NY, USA

new yorkThe US capital of finance, publishing and broadcast television, New York launched investments in the late 1990s to build a digital economy.  In 1995, the city created a venture fund, the Plug ‘n’ Go program, which offered affordable, pre-wired, Internet-ready office space to young companies, and “Digital New York: Wired to the World,” which provides seed funding to create new high-tech clusters in the rest of the city outside Manhattan.

2000: LaGrange, Georgia, USA

LaGrangeThe city negotiated a deal in the 1990s that motivated a cable TV company to develop a state-of-the-art broadband network.  The city issued a municipal bond to fund network construction under an agreement in which the cable carrier leased back the network for its own use, with payments covering the debt service on the bond.  The city retained a percentage of bandwidth for its own use, and went on to become a network and IT services provider to communities throughout the county.

1999: Singapore

Singapore-city-branch-image1ICF named Singapore as its first Intelligent Community of the Year in 1999 for its ambitious plan for the Singapore One project beginning in 1998.  The aim was to provide every citizen and business with a high-speed Internet connection, and to foster the development of an online economy benefiting all of its citizens.