Edmonton City Hall
Edmonton City Hall

Three Canadian cities are among the 21 regions in the running for the 2015 Smart Communities competition. Selected from 300 entries, the winner will succeed Toronto, which won the title of Intelligent City of the Year in 2014.

Edmonton, Sherbrooke, Que., and Surrey, B.C. are among the municipalities or regions that judges for the Intelligent Community Forum will have to decide has the most points.

Also being considered is Rio de Janeiro, which is in the final stages of constructing facilities for the 2016 Summer Olympics, five U.S. cities, four communities from Australia and four from Taiwan. Astana, Kazakhstan (pop. 832,00) is also nominated. The smallest is Mitchell, South Dakota (pop. 254).

Often winners have state of the art broadband networks in at least part of their community. Toronto, for example, emphasized its gigabit network in the waterfront renewal area.

This year’s competition has the theme of Revolutionary Community, which organizers of the competition said in a release is perfect for this group. Not all of them are cities, towns or regions that people immediately think of as ‘tech cities,’  the release noted. “Tech is not all there is to a great community. Some are aspirational but all have launched programs that are innovative, and will do something that most cities, towns and regions have been attempting since the broadband economy emerged: launch a successful and full-scale full revolt against brain drain and the creation of industries that will produce jobs.”

Broadband, digital inclusion, innovation, skilled workforce and advocacy are some of the criteria used to pick the winner.

The 21 nominees will give judges more detailed information about themselves through an extensive questionnaire, which is evaluated by an independent research firm. The seven highest-scoring cities or regions will then be named finalists on January 22 in Taichung City, Taiwan, the 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year.

The winner we be announced next June at an event in Toronto.



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