Hamilton is vying to be the world’s No. 1 Intelligent Community in 2018 after being named to Intelligent Community Forum’s Top 7.
“This puts Hamilton on the map from a technology and industry perspective. It’s a platform to articulate all we are doing with our partners. There may be some surprise out there about the amazing things happening here,” said City of Hamilton chief digital officer Andrea McKinney. “It’s also an indication to the business community about the City’s willingness to be progressive and innovative.”
ICF is a New York City-based network that researches and promotes how Intelligent Communities use technology to build inclusive prosperity, solve social issues and enrich quality of life.
The recognition highlights the deep collaboration between Hamilton’s key institutions and the City’s efforts to use technology to improve service delivery to its residents, says McKinney.
“We hosted the Intelligent Communities Forum judge for three days to demonstrate our areas of success and the opportunities under development. He said the collaboration he saw here is world class and not seen in cities of Hamilton’s size.”
The judge toured cutting-edge research facilities at McMaster University and Mohawk College, witnessed all the resources available in the Hamilton Public Library and visited CityLAB, a partnership between Mohawk, McMaster, Redeemer University College and the City that pairs post-secondary students and faculty with City staff to address urban issues.
The Top Intelligent Community will be announced in June.
Hamilton was evaluated on broadband service, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy, sending “a clear message that the public, private, and education sectors in Hamilton are making real investments in these areas,” said Rob McCann, who is president of broadband provider Clearcable, a board member of ICF Canada, and a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Digital Hamilton initiative.
“From a purely economic development perspective, the Top 7 designation tells potential local and foreign investors that there is a concerted and externally verified effort in Hamilton to advance the community as a globally competitive place to live, work, and play. The resulting outcomes attract both investment and talent, which furthers the development of thriving arts and technologies sectors.”
Hamilton first made the ICF list in 2017, ranking among the Smart 21. Making the Top 7 was set as a “stretch target” in the 2016-2020 Economic Development Action Plan and the City’s senior staff and leadership have been firmly supportive of pursuing the goal, says McKinney.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who launched the Mayor’s Intelligent Community Task Force that has been a driving force on the initiative, became chair of ICF Canada in December.