Three Ontario communities – Burlington, Ottawa-Gatineau and Waterloo – are among the 21 smartest communities in the world, according to the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a non-profit think tank that focuses on job creation and economic development in the broadband economy. These were the only Canadian cities to make the Smart21 list.

In May, one exceptional community will claim the grand title of the year’s Intelligent Community.

The ICF’s initiatives to foster innovation in local communities worldwide include a 10-month “Intelligent Community” awards program. Communities around the globe can nominate themselves if they feel they meet the criteria for selection.

This year communities have been evaluated based on their possession of six key capabilities: broadband infrastructure, knowledge workforce, digital inclusion, innovation and finance, marketing and leadership.

This is Waterloo’s second year on the Smart21 list. In 2006, they made it to the Top Seven. City councilor Mark Whaley says that embracing new ideas and building upon them is key to creating any innovative community that can hold its own in the world. As an example, he cited the University of Waterloo’s initiative to allow students and professors to own their research ideas and turn them into money-making ventures.

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