Coast out-Smarts the world - again

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The New York-based Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has announced the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2015 – with the Sunshine Coast named as one of the 21 for the second year in a row.

Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the announcement, saying the Sunshine Coast was punching well above its weight in competing with the world’s information technology-savvy communities.

“The Forum, part of the internationally affiliated Intelligent Community Forum Foundation, has only named 134 communities worldwide to date over the last 16 years so we’re in exclusive company,” he said.

“Each in this select group will now be vying for the ultimate prestigious designation of Intelligent Community of the Year in June 2015.”

The Mayor said regional initiatives like Start Up Weekend, Coder Dojos and the Business Pitch competition were just some examples of why the region had been recognised as a Smart 21 again this year.

“Through the Draft Digital Sunshine Coast Action Plan we have built the foundations for further success and we are now capturing the stories of our digital champions to encourage our businesses to use digital solutions,” he said.

Greg Tuckwell, CEO of Poole Group located on the Sunshine Coast, said his business had transformed from an accountancy group to a digital champion.

“We were recognised as the Xero Partner of the Year for Australia and our other company ZeroBooks, which allows a Sunshine Coast company to export services to companies right across Australia and soon to other parts of the world, is experiencing rapid growth,” Mr Tuckwell said.

This year’s Smart21 Communities consists of five communities from the United States, four each from Australia and Taiwan, three from Canada, and one community each from Brazil, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya and New Zealand, an ICF spokesman said.

“Perhaps surprisingly, no European or Chinese community appears on this year’s list,” the spokesman said.

Thirteen communities reappeared on the list, with the ICF’s first Kazakhstani city making the Smart21.

The Smart21 of 2015

  • Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Astana, Kazakhstan
  • Aurora, Illinois, USA
  • Changhua County, Taiwan
  • Columbus, Ohio, USA
  • Dubuque, Iowa, USA
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
  • Mitchell, South Dakota, USA
  • Nairobi County, Kenya
  • New Taipei City, Taiwan
  • Prospect, South Australia, Australia
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
  • Shiojiri City, Japan
  • Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
  • Taitung County, Taiwan
  • Taoyuan County, Taiwan
  • Whanganui, New Zealand
  • Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia

The Intelligent Community Forum (www.intelligentcommunity.org) is an international think tank and Foundation which studies and promotes the best practices of the world’s Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the new demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology (ICT).

This year’s theme, The Revolutionary Community, focused on the study of urban and regional planning and how it impacts the way people live, work and create in their cities and towns.

Evaluation of Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program nominations is based on the five Intelligent Community Indicators of advocacy, broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation and digital inclusion.

Last year the Sunshine Coast was named as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2014, recognized for embracing broadband technology to deliver economic opportunities that lead to new jobs, investment and social development.