Surrey named among World’s Smart21 Communities

City recognized for framework and plans that include Wi-Fi at dozens of locations.

  • Oct. 29, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has named the City of Surrey as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2015. As one of the 21 semi-finalists selected from more than 300 nominations, Surrey is now in contention for the prestigious designation of ‘Intelligent Community of the Year’.

“This is a significant milestone for Surrey’s progressive use of digital technology to foster economic, social and cultural opportunities,” said Mayor Dianne Watts. “Being designated a Smart21 community will not only help to advance Surrey’s global profile, but it makes our city more attractive to companies looking at investing in Canada.”

Surrey’s progressive approach is outlined in its recently adopted “Smart Surrey Strategy” which provides a framework to build a city that uses technology and innovation to transform life and work within the region. Strategy initiatives include:

• The “My Surrey App”, a convenient alternative for residents to engage and interact with the city. The app acts a portal for all Surrey apps and also includes features such as news, events, facility locations, job listings, bike routes, and parking.

• Citywide Wi-Fi service in partnership with Shaw Communications Inc. which will soon be offered free at more than 40 locations throughout the city, including recreation centres, and a number of parks, civic buildings and public spaces.

• An Open Data Catalogue, comprising more data sets than any other municipality in Canada, available free on the City website. The catalogue includes datasets on crime, financial information and restaurant inspections.

• The “Surrey Request App” which enables citizens to report issues, including litter, graffiti, potholes, street light outages, and park maintenance.

• Innovation Boulevard, a partnership of health, business, higher education and government which is creating new health technologies to improve peoples’ lives in the areas of medical devices, independent living and digital health.

“With more and more people coming to live and work in Surrey, it is important that we encourage social engagement and connectivity,” said Councillor Bruce Hayne, Chair of the Investment and Innovation Committee.

Nominated communities provided a detailed explanation of programs and initiatives that address IFM’s five intelligent community indicators; broadband access, a knowledge based workforce, innovation, digital inclusion and marketing and advocacy.

The 2015 Smart21 Communities finalists comprise three communities from Canada, five from the United States, four from Australia, four from Taiwan, and one each from Brazil, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya and New Zealand.

The Intelligent Community Forum is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community.  Its mandate is to educate communities on how to build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures. One community will be chosen in June 2015 to succeed Toronto as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year.

For more information on the Smart Surrey Strategy visit www.surrey.ca/smartsurrey

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