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Global communities rewarded for being smart and sustainable

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Eight locations in Canada and four in Australia have been named SMART21 Communities of 2021 by the global Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).

Coquitlam, Durham, Fredericton, Langley, Maple Ridge, Markham, Mississauga and Winnipeg in Canada and the Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Adelaide and Prospect in Australia all made the cut. Other cities to make the SMART21 list, a precursor to ICF’s Top7, include Wellington in New Zealand and Binh Duong Smart City in Vietnam.

The ICF assesses communities of all sizes across the world for their strengths in categories such as digital equality, innovation, sustainability and technological connectivity.

It was the seventh appearance for the Sunshine Coast, which was named a Top7 city in 2019 and 2020, and the first for Townsville. “Our Smart Townsville strategy is focused on opening space for conversation, collaboration and partnerships to achieve the best outcomes for our city,” says Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill.

“It’s rewarding to see our city’s efforts being recognised on the world stage. We’re in great company … in our mission to harness the potential of technology to help make Townsville a fantastic place to live now and into the future.”

Smart and sustainable cities

Prospect, a suburb of greater Adelaide with a population of 21,000, is the smallest Australian city to appear on the list. ICF acknowledged the city’s “Next Generation” Digital Economy Strategy, Connected Cities project and a collaborative co-working space on the main street supported by the local council.

Down the road from Prospect is Adelaide, a four-time SMART21 city and a Top7 city in 2020. ICF commended the South Australian capital for innovative programs such as Ten Gigabit Adelaide, a fibre-optic network offering 10 Gbps symmetrical capacity to businesses that’s expected to deliver as much as $76 million in economic benefit and create 2,500 jobs in the next six years.

Other innovative programs include Entrepreneur in Residence, a position currently occupied by former Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Microsoft, Kirk Drage, and the Digital Hub Training Program, which encourages lifelong learning through community computer-

literacy training.

ICF also praised sustainability measures introduced by Adelaide City Council, which the ICF website says “reduced its energy consumption by 15 per cent through 2015 and achieved savings of $800,000 in the process. It is now piloting a smart LED lighting program that is expected to reduce energy consumption by a further 10 per cent and produce an average monthly savings of 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide.”

ICF is set to announce the Top7 in June.