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Toronto takes another shot at being an Intelligent Community

Last year did not do much for Toronto’s image as an intelligent city. But Waterfront Toronto is looking to turn that all around in 2014.

For the second time in as many years, Waterfront is spearheading Toronto’s application to the Intelligent Community Foundation in the hopes of being named the world’s most intelligent city. Out of more than 400 applications, we’ve already made it to the top 21, and at the end of this month, we’ll find out if we made the final seven, as we did in 2005 and again last year.

Cities are judged by the foundation on criteria such as digital inclusion strategies and the status of their knowledge-based workforce. The 2011 winner, Eindhoven, Netherlands, is known for its Brainport, a public-private project that’s controibuted 55,000 jobs over the past decade. Last year’s winner, Taichung City, Taiwan, is known for its environmental friendliness.

According to Kristina Verner, Waterfront Toronto’s director of intelligent communities, Toronto is already becoming known in global circles for building the only community in which the principles of intelligent communities are, in the words of people who speak of such things, baked in.

"We're serving as a catalyst for the city of Toronto," Verner says of the work going on at the Waterfront. "We're a living lab, not just for the city, but for other cities in North America."

According to Verner, winning the competition would drastically increase the city's so-called brand recognition in the community of site selectors – corporate types who decide where in the world facilities will be built – as well as governments looking to collaborate on large projects, as Eindhoven did with Waterloo, which won the title in 2007.

If Toronto makes it to the final seven, it moves on to the final phase, the results of which are to be announced in New York in June.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Kristina Verner

Photos courtesy of Waterfront Toronto.
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