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By Robert Bell, John Jung, Louis Zacharilla: Intelligent Communities are those which have - whether through crisis or foresight - come to understand the enormous challenges of the Broadband Economy, and have taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in it. They are not necessarily big cities or famous technology hubs. They are located in developing nations as well as industrialized ones, suburbs as well as cities, the hinterland as well as the coast.

Guest Blog: The Google eTown Award is Moncton’s Latest Honor

October 29, 2012 By

clientuploads/Images/Ben Champoux.gifGuest Blog By Ben Champoux, former Business Development Specialist for the City of Moncton, now leading the Department of Tourism & Culture

Thanksgiving Day in Canada is always the perfect time for me to reflect on how blessed and grateful I am to live in the great City of Moncton on the East Coast of Canada.  I must say that I’m not from Moncton.  In 1998, my friends laughed when I told them I was leaving Montreal to move to Moncton.  So why Moncton?  Simply put, because of its ‘can-do attitude’. 

I never get bored of telling the ‘Moncton Story’.  In less than 25 years, Moncton transformed itself from a blue-collar manufacturing town with an uncertain future to one of the fastest growing cities and most diversified economies in Canada.  Back in the ‘80s, the closing of the major employer, CN Shops, was devastating to the local economy.   Unemployment skyrocketed to record highs and every second building in the downtown was boarded up.  Today, employment is strong, construction activity is having banner years, and Moncton is the fifth fastest growing centre in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. 

So how did Moncton do it?  Not a simple answer, but there is no doubt that a solid collaboration between all stakeholders and a well-planned marketing strategy were two key ingredients to a successful recipe.  I was not living in Moncton in the ‘80s, so I always wondered how the community leaders at the time successfully marketed a city with record high unemployment levels, a 50% vacancy rate in its downtown and a workforce that did not have the perfect skillsets to embrace the growing digital economy.   But they did it.  They worked together, took their destiny into their own hands and implemented the changes that had to happen in order to get back on track and embrace the digital economy.  That’s what I mean about a ‘can-do attitude’. 

Promoting Moncton today is much easier, as the community leaders simply focus on concrete actions and leave it to others to tell the world how great is Moncton.  In 2009, the ICF named Moncton one of its Top7 Intelligent Communities, which set us on the path to gaining the global recognition we might never have dared seek before.  Since then, many others have acknowledged Moncton’s ’can-do attitude’. 

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Intelligent Communities

About the Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Whether in industrialized or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and knowledge increasingly depend on advances in communications. For the 21st Century community, connectivity is a double-edge sword: threatening established ways of life on the one hand, and offering powerful new tools to build prosperous, inclusive and sustainable economies on the other. ICF seeks to share the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of the Broadband Economy, in order to help communities everywhere find sustainable renewal and growth. More information can be found at

Robert Bell
Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research and content development activities. He is the author of ICF's pioneering study, Benchmarking the Intelligent Community, the annual Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year white papers and other research reports issued by the Forum, and of Broadband Economies: Creating the Community of the 21st Century. Mr. Bell has also authored articles in The Municipal Journal of Telecommunications Policy, IEDC Journal, Telecommunications, Asia-Pacific Satellite and Asian Communications; and has appeared in segments of ABC World News and The Discovery Channel. A frequent keynote speaker and moderator at municipal and telecom industry events, he has also led economic development missions and study tours to cities in Asia and the US.

John Jung
ICF co-founder John G. Jung originated the Intelligent Community concept and continues to serve as the Forum's leading visionary. Formerly President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and Calgary Economic Development Authority, he is a registered professional urban planner, urban designer and economic developer. He leads regular international business missions to US, European, Asian, Indian and Australian cities, and originated the ICF Immersion Lab program. John is a regular speaker at universities and conferences and serves as an advisor to regional and national leaders on Intelligent Community development. The author of numerous articles in planning and economic development journals, he has received global and Toronto-based awards for his work in collaboration and strategic development and sits on numerous task forces and international advisory boards.

Louis Zacharilla
ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla is the creator and presenter of the annual Smart21, Top Seven and Intelligent Community Awards and oversees ICF's media communications and development programs. He is a frequent keynote and motivational speaker and panelist, addressing audiences of tech, academic and community leaders around the world, and writes extensively for publications including American City & County, Continental Airline's in-flight magazine and Municipal World. His frequent appearances in the electronic media have included both television and radio in South Korea, China and Canada. He has served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York and is a Guest Lecturer at Polytechnic University's Distinguished Speaker Series. He holds a Masters Degree from the University of Notre Dame.