Whanganui has been named as a one of 21 Smart21 Communities semi-finalists worldwide in the Intelligent Community Forum’s Intelligent Community of the Year awards.
The list is a ‘select’ group of communities who will now be considered for the top award of Intelligent Community of the Year, which honours cities and regions using information and communications technology to create ‘inclusive prosperity, solve social challenges and improve quality of life’.
Whanganui is in the running alongside eight communities from Canada, five from Taiwan, two from the United States, two from Australia – NSW’s Armidale and Queensland’s Ipswich – and one each from Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The Intelligent Community Forum says the award program collects knowledge on how intelligent communities got there, from broadband and the knowledge economy to innovation, sustainability and digital inclusion.
From the information, the Forum creates best practice guidelines shared worldwide.
“Our goal is to help communities around the world grow prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich their quality of life in the challenging new future we live in,” the Forum says.
The Forum says it reviewed its ‘extensive’ data on hundreds of towns, cities and regions, and invited nominations globally, to select the Smart21.
The communities are judged on six ‘indicators’ – broadband, innovation, digital equality, advocacy, knowledge workforce and sustainability – and the year’s theme, in this case ‘From Revolution to Renaissance: How intelligent communities plan for a future of economic, technological and environmental disruption’.
The Smart21 Communities now complete in-depth questionnaires on their challenges, opportunities and results and an independent research firm will narrow the group to the top seven, which will be announced in February.
The winning community will be announced in June at ICF’s Summit in the United States.