Stephanie Ip, Vancouver Sun
The City of Surrey is up against two Canadian and four international cities in a bid to snag the international title of Intelligent Community of the Year.
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) is an international think tank that examines how cities use information and communications technology to “create inclusive prosperity, to tackle social and governance challenges, and to enrich their quality of life.”
This year, Surrey has been named by the ICF as one of seven finalists, along with Montreal, Que., Winnipeg, Man., as well as Hsinchu County and New Taipei City in Taiwan, Muelheim an der Ruhr in Germany, and Whanganui in New Zealand.
“I am pleased that Surrey is among the Top 7 finalists for the second year in a row,” said Mayor Linda Hepner in an emailed statement. “As Surrey continues to grow, ensuring greater access for our citizens to digitally connect and investing in innovative technology are essential to building a city that is ready to meet the challenges of the future.
“The fact that we have once again made it to the final round is a validation that the work we are doing is having a positive impact on the people who live and work in our city.”
This Wednesday, ICF co-founder and visiting judge Louis Zacharilla will speak in Surrey about the “rise of the intelligent community” and how cities can use fast-paced technology to their benefit while also managing social challenges. Zacharilla’s visit comes after Surrey was selected from dozens of cities earlier this year that have participated in the ICF’s global survey.
Each year’s Intelligent Community selection process begins with a survey that any community is welcome to fill out. Data from the survey supports various research projects and produces reports that guide both large and small cities in understanding urban and rural development. Any city that fills out the survey receives a free written report that compares its own performance to the ICF’s global data set. Each participating city is also entered into the Intelligent Community of the Year award program.
The list of participating cities is then whittled down to a list of 21, before being further cut down to seven finalists.
“Canada and Taiwan are again well-represented among the Top7 Intelligent Communities,” Zacharilla said in a statement. “These are nations where regional and national policy has long aimed at helping their citizens adapt to the demands of the broadband economy, which has given them a lead in moving from broadband technology to truly transformed communities.”
Zacharilla will speak from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday at Surrey City Hall (13450 104 Ave.). The event is free to attend but advance registration is encouarged.