Three Canadian municipalities are among the smartest in the world. That’s according to the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a global think tank network that just named Mississauga, Winnipeg, and the Township of Langley as three of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of the Year.
Every year, the ICF announces the top seven cities based on models of economic, social and cultural development in the digital age. This year’s list includes cities and counties in Australia, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, as well as three cities in Canada.
Winnipeg made the list for the first time in 2016 and came back for a second time in 2018. Now, the city is in the spotlight again for the way it’s built a new economic base for itself by connecting industry, education, and a burgeoning technology sector.
The Township of Langley in British Columbia, home to the Katzie and Kwantlen First Nations, was selected because it “puts its energies into engaging all sectors of the community in progress.” For example, it created a heritage center at its local museum as part of a truth and reconciliation dialogue. Its population is equally committed to planning the future, most recently in advising on a cannabis retail policy to help the township profit responsibly from legalization.
Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, made the cut for being a business and technology hub in its own right, and an attractive market for Internet service providers (ISPs). The report lauds Sauga’s streamlined online system for the trenching and installation permits that ISPs require. It has processed more than 17,000 applications in the past four years.
“Mississauga has leveraged this connectivity to help citizens, from a cloud-based system that makes connecting with government easy to a Digital Main Street program that helps small businesses go online. In education, the city launched the Building Skilled Talent Together program to provide training for secondary and post-secondary students in the skills most in demand by local employers,” explains the report.
These communities were not awarded the title because they are the most advanced technology centers, but instead “they are charting new paths to lasting prosperity for their citizens, businesses and institutions.”
In order to be chosen, each community completes a questionnaire based on community indicators and an annual theme. A crew of academic analysts then reviews the answers from each community, scores them, and ranks them. The seven highest-ranking candidates are placed on the shortlist.
Here’s the full list of the ICF’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities of 2021:
- Binh Duong Smart City, Vietnam
- Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
- Langley Township, British Columbia, Canada
- Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
- Moscow, Russia
- Townsville, Queensland, Australia
- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada