Government Technology

Top Seven Intelligent Communities Named

January 23, 2013 By

On Wednesday, Louis Zacharilla, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), announced the organization's seven finalists for the 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year. The announcement was made during the final day of the Pacific Telecommunications Council's annual meeting in Honolulu.

The seven finalists -- Columbus, Ohio; Oulu, Finland; Stratford, Canada; Taichung City, Taiwan; Tallinn, Estonia; Taoyuan County, Taiwan; and Toronto, Canada -- "provide a model of 21st Century economic and social development, using information and communications technology to power growth, address social challenges and preserve and promote culture," said an ICF statement. Two other U.S. cities -- Mitchell, S.D.; and Philadelphia -- were also in contention for top seven.

Columbus, Ohio
Zacharilla says the perception of Columbus, Ohio, and the new reality are very different. "The perception is Ohio is in the industrial rust belt, largely irrelevant, not really doing much, living on old foundry fumes. That's not at all the case," he said. "It is a very hip city, and their incubator, TechColumbus, is literally putting out all kinds of new businesses." In addition, said Zacharilla, the city has effectively reversed "brain drain," so highly trained and intelligent people stay in the area versus move elsewhere.

Columbus has a net in-migration of new people for the first time in decades. "They have created 29,000 jobs in the last two years," he said, "You don't associate Ohio with creating jobs at that rate. I believe that as Ohio goes, so goes the nation, and the good news is that Columbus is going pretty well."

Other factors in Columbus' success have been collaboration among city government, academic institutions, businesses and nonprofits, according to an ICF statement. Government has reduced spending in the recession, but also raised taxes to fund development. That includes investments in work force development to meet the needs of advanced manufacturing, logistics and information technology companies. Business and institutional leaders have created nonprofits that engage in downtown development, education, health care and cultural projects. Columbus has traditionally struggled to commercialize technologies created in its schools and universities, but TechColumbus is working effectively to leverage the region’s research and technology assets into startup companies

The 2013 ICF Intelligent Community awards program concludes in New York City in June during ICF’s annual summit, where one of the Top 7 will succeed Riverside, Calif., -- the 2012 Intelligent Community of the Year.

| More


Why?    |    Commented January 24, 2013

Why would anyone consider Columbus a rust belt city?

From the sticks    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Because if you drive a few miles out of Columbus in any direction, you can find plenty of boarded-up factories and communities where the workforce pool is used to factory work.

downtown    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Its because our city is mostly liberal (thanks osu students) and we think with a blend of mind and soul.

Cbus resident    |    Commented January 25, 2013

i agree with "downtown"'s comment. several universities and a diverse population (for a Midwest city), along with many fortune 500 companies make Columbus a consistently progressive and forward-thinking community. it was just starting that process, including urban redevelopment, in 2000 when i moved here. it's grown leaps and bounds since then.

Cbus Res    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Columbus does not have boarded up factories. The primary industries are banking, insurance and finance. Columbus was never much of a manufacturing city, and as a result, is doing significantly better than most cities in the country.

RedAndGray    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Cbus Res, "from the sticks" was referring to the SURROUNDING area. Not to Columbus itself. Just clarifying.

bax22    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Come on, this is laughable. First, Columbus is in no way "rust belt." Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago- that's the rust belt. Second, I used to live in Columbus, it just doesn't feel "progressive" at all. It's bland. Don't tell me I need to go back and see how it's changed. I left in April 2012. Third, let's be real, OSU is nice but it's not an elite university. You really think OSU/Columbus produces minds like Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Northeastern in Boston?

Frank Rukovena    |    Commented January 25, 2013

bax22 don't be so narrow minded. Some of the best inventions and businesses we created by people who never pass through a university. Our financial meltdown was created by people from the great schools you listed.

OSU student    |    Commented January 25, 2013

In response to bax22: OSU is a tremendous university. We produce great individuals and are cutting edge. We are affordable so that the great minds that could go to places like Harvard (I was recruited by Harvard during high school) can come to OSU instead. Being one of the largest universities in the nation further proves that our programs are high caliber. Our admissions criteria are becoming more competitive every year because we increasingly see more and more impressive applicants. Lastly, I know that my education at THE Ohio State University College of Pharmacy will prepare me for a successful and rewarding job and minimal college debt. I think that is more than some students at these "elite" schools can say. I am a proud Buckeye; I turned down many other elite universities to come here and I don't regret that decision for a minute.

Dale    |    Commented January 25, 2013

@bax22 your comment is laughable! "minds like Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Northeastern in Boston?" I have dealt with many people from those schools. They are by far some of the most sheltered, sophomoric, obnoxious, and ignorant people I have ever had the displeasure of working with. Constantly having to fix their pompous mistakes.

Dale    |    Commented January 25, 2013

*BTW Having lived in New England it's by far the most homogeneous place in the U.S. Practically to the proximity of near inbreeding.

Ohioan    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Columbus isn't that bad. It certainly doesn't deserve to be ranked among the top seven in the world.

Inaccurate    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Can someone please name the major players in Columbus. I will give you nationwide insurance, but the others are a joke. In fashion, abercrombie and the limited can't hang w NYC, Paris, la, or Nike for that matter. As far as tech, what major companies are here. The engineering school at OSU is not even ranked in the top 25. No silicon valley player is going t put a tech company here when cal and Stanford are in the top 3. Silicon valley and the bay humiliates this city. Cbus is a great city, but know it's place. It has major catching up t do, but no ne can hang with the football team.

Katie    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Batelle's headquarters are here. No clothing was designed there, but they did develop the first nuclear fuel rods, create algorithms that advanced digital recording, and helped improve jet engines, not to mention were at the forefront of medical advances that reduced the incidence of blood clotting in surgery. Community intelligence is not about fashion or hype, and, considering that the major fashion and technology centers are well established, I think it's commendable that Columbus has progressed so much, especially in the past ten years. As a graduate student at Ohio State, I can truly say that the university offers a world-class education that is affordable, and its sheer size attracts academics and technology-minded people as well as creates opportunities for innovation and collaboration. As an Ohio native who has lived all around the world, I am proud to be from Columbus.

'Flyover State'    |    Commented January 25, 2013

For Inaccurate's question: Battelle, Chemical Abstracts, Honda North America, JPMorgan (more employees there than NY). BTW it seems like they rotate the cities every year. Which is nice to see since many of us are tired about hearing about the overrated talent in Silicon Valley!

G    |    Commented January 25, 2013

I agree, the so-called elite universities are becoming more so due to the price tag, not the 'great' education. Many state universities are wonderful. Columbus is extremely progressive, much more so than most midwestern, western, and southern cities. I feel it doesn't fall into the same idiocies that cities like Boulder or Seattle or San Francisco falls into either, the over the top liberal sentiments that can be a plague. Sounds like bax22 was hanging out in the wrong places with the wrong people, who exist in every city.

Inaccurate    |    Commented January 25, 2013

Hmmm, so these companies use computers to do there work.... Which companies in Columbus had anything to do with the software, operating systems, or hardware being used to run their company. Can someone clarify. If this were a technology city, don't you think there would be.... Technology. And as far as medicine goes, isn't the Cleveland clinic ranked higher than Ohio state, is Columbus not even the best medical city in the state of Ohio?

Urban    |    Commented January 26, 2013

A pretty rich discussion.I have lived in all the "big" cities in Ohio and have lived in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Indianapolis. I work in universities (not Ohio State). Now living in Columbus, I certainly appreciate the nod for most intelligent city (I'm talkin property value here :) As a Columbus city resident, I can fault the city for only two odd realities: The Columbus Dispatch and the residents' odd exuberance for Ohio State football. Ohio State itself is an incredible university and many of its programs can match any "elite" money school. Indeed, the big "ten" altogether is now said to be the ivy league of college football. To the Dispatch--this newspaper is the only print media in Columbus. It is Fox News on steroids in print. Columbus City residents can only metephorically pray as Henry of Murder in the Cathedral did, "Will no one rid me of this meddlesome newspaper." Columbus in great part lives on its public workers. The Dispatch hates them and particularly public teachers. They do let Ohio State off the hook now and then, but mostly due to their love of its poser president. Perhaps this is in part why no public or private K-12 schools in Columbus rank better than 30th in the state. In the end, I would say that I can live and die here in Columbus and that would be fine. I embrace how it is progressing. I am rooting for the award. The other great Ohio cities are connected: Cincinnati/Dayton, Cleveland/Akron-Youngstown, Toledo/Detroit; and their print media is at least balanced, even in a conservative stronghold like Cincinnati. Columbus is connected to,uhh, Bucyrus? Chillicothe? When you take it out and look at it, Columbus is an island in Ohio that is trying to shed its "cowtown" image. An image promoted daily by its only newspaper. But, yeah, come to Columbus: good jobs, good money, and good people who are intelligent enough to overcome its sad media backwardness.

steve mccaw    |    Commented January 26, 2013

Much of Columbus's success is not of its own doing. It sits in a sweet spot: fertile land, energy resources, transportation, educated citizens, ample water, relatively low cost of living. The political and economic elites are not dominated by extremists and have always been quite pragmatic. It would be hard for a city so situated and so managed to fail.

Matt    |    Commented January 28, 2013

Columbus has progressed so much in the past ten years. It's by far a better city, in my opinion, than Cincinnati and Cleveland. Yes, we have Battelle, Abbott, nationally recognized advertising agencies, Abercrombie/Hollister, The Limited, Victoria's Secret, Express. The Short North arts district is thriving with independent fashion boutique and nationally recognized restaurants (a big 'foodie' scene in Columbus as well). Also, we have one of the nation's best and most successful newspapers. Columbus also has a great music scene. A lot of recognition coming to Columbus with artists like Rashad, Lydia Loveless, The Floorwalkers and The Regrettes. I realize much of my comment is mentioning thing unrelated to what's considered an 'intelligent' city but I wanted to ramble off why I think Columbus is one of the best big cities.

LOLOL    |    Commented January 31, 2013

Harvard and MIT yes, but BU, BC, Northeastern..... don't belong.. calm down....

Baffled    |    Commented April 3, 2013

Maybe they count the number of people using smartphones and subscribe to cable plus internet as the 'gauge' of overall intelligence? I like Columbus, its a great place to work, live and raise a family, but I am really not convinced it being 'intelligent', at least not the top 7.

BettyDana    |    Commented May 11, 2013

It was noted earlier that JPMorgan/Chase employs more people in Columbus than NYC. In numbers, that translates to 18,000. I was there in the '08 crash. It was felt, but not to the extent of other areas in the country.

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Redefining Citizen Engagement in a Mobile-First World
Today’s consumers are embracing the ease and convenience of anytime, anywhere access to the Internet from their mobile devices. In order for government and public sector organizations to fully engage with their citizens and provide similar service quality as their consumer counterparts, the time is now to shift to mobile citizen engagement. Learn more
McAfee Enterprise Security Manager and Threat Intelligence Exchange
As a part of the Intel® Security product offering, McAfee® Enterprise Security Manager and McAfee Threat Intelligence Exchange work together to provide organizations with exactly what they need to fight advanced threats. You get the situational awareness, actionable intelligence, and instantaneous speed to immediately identify, respond to, and proactively neutralize threats in just milliseconds.
Better security. Better government.
Powering security at all levels of government with simpler, more connected IT.
View All

Featured Papers