America's Best and Smartest Cities In the Smart21

Smart Cities Are Inventive

"Nuclear light bulb" spacecraft engine. New industries, new transportation.
"Nuclear light bulb" spacecraft engine. New industries, new transportation.

Smart6

The Smart6 Cities are the American designees in the Smart21 named annually. The American winners in the Smart21 Cities designation by Intelligent Community for 2010 are listed below in alphabetical order. As in 2009, North America is home to 10 Smart21 Cities; but unlike 2009, the list contains different names. Albany and Westchester County NY and Ashland OR are no longer on the list. Dublin, Ohio – the fastest growing place in the state – is now a designee for three years running.

Just what defines a Smart City for this survey performed and presented by Intelligent Community each year?

The cities and town on the Smart21 list are college towns full of colleges and universities that produce large numbers of graduates and that partner with business and local/federal governments to create new high-tech, new-tech, and clean-tech jobs. How many of these new graduates stay in the cities in which they complete their academic degrees? If it is Ohio's Dublin, then perhaps not a large percentage, since Ohio in the 2000s and 2010s is losing gradates to other states in which employment and business incentives are more attractive. How smart is that? On the other hand, Dublin is the fastest-growing place in Ohio; people are moving in faster than graduates are moving out. Something smart is going on there.

Smart21 for 2013

The chosen communties around the world considered the Smart21 for 2013 are in the following list. Three are located in the USA and several are in Canada.

  1. Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  2. Castelo de Vide, Portugal
  3. Columbus, Ohio, USA
  4. Heraklion, Crete, Greece
  5. Hsinchu City, Taiwan
  6. Jiading New City, China
  7. Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  8. Mitchell, South Dakota, USA
  9. Oulu, Finland
  10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  11. Prospect, So. Australia, Australia
  12. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  13. Stratford, Ontario, Canada
  14. Taichung City, Taiwan
  15. Tallinn, Estonia
  16. Taoyuan County, Taiwan
  17. Tirana, Albania
  18. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  19. Wanganui, New Zealand
  20. Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia
  21. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Arlington National Cemetery | Smart6 for 2010

Arlington County, Virginia

2010 Population 210,000

This is smallest self-governing county in nation, thriving thus beside Washington DC and its tradition of community involvement with government, private sector, and universities.  In the 1970s, a planning commission created zoning system to group business and residential developments around bus and train stops in the DC Metro catchment. 

In addition, Arlington County developed additional open space; bike-hike paths, public transit and Employment & Training opportunities. As a result, broadband, distance education, and STEM careers as well as entrepreneurship have influenced the region’s youth to succeed.  Residents overall possess advance degrees, move in from 125 other nations, and speak 100 languages; but are united in business and community groups for positive change. 

Bristol, Virginia

2010 population 17,500

Bristol is a rural community in a low-income region that long depended on tobacco and coal production. With these industries on the downswing, others have become necessary to keep the city and its population solvent. The Digital Divide needed to be bridged in a new technologically-driven effort and Bristol seized that opportunity. It has been a Smart21 City for two years.

Bristol moved into the 21st Century in the late 1990s, when it began pursuing its own fiber network, which it achieved and named OptiNet. Its first deployment was in serving local government entities and school systems, followed by business use and residential applications. It then grew to service four entire Virginia counties.

OptiNet saved its customers over $10 million in the 2000s alone, while drawing $50 million in private investments from new technology companies. The high tech advancement also worked to improve education and healthcare through digital communications and tools for work. Further economic development is expected through partnerships more easily formed digitally, among government at the federal, state, county, and local levels; higher education, and business. This is a winning combination in one of America's Fastest Growing Places and Best Cities for Work and Business.

Dublin, Ohio

2010 Population 40,000

Dublin has been a Smart21 city for three years in 2008, 2009, 2010. It has a city-wide Wi-Fi system that helps make it the fastest growing place in the State of Ohio. Communication and transportation are high class and easy and the city is headquarters for Fortune 500 companies that include Wendy’s, Ashland, and Cardinal Health. Companies such as OhioHealth and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), are also happy to take advantage of the Dublin technologies of Wi-Fi and dark fiber.

It is difficult to believe that in the mid-1800s, Dublin and Muirfield Golf Course (hosting the Memorial Day Tournament) was once the Wild West with muddy streets, saloons, and prospectors. In the 2000s, it became the hub of a supercomputer-linked network of K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and hospitals. This is the difference between Gun Smoke and Sir Arthur Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now, 80% of the population has an earned college degree.

Dublin leaders thought "telecom." They took a risk and engaged partners and constructed a system of underground conduits for future fiber-optics networking. This is a far cry from the muddy streets of the Wild West and a single telegraph office. The network emerged and became DubLink, partnered by the Ohio Supercomputer Center to create the Central Ohio Research Network or CORN, reflected by Dublin's famous concrete corn field art installation (see the link below for a view).

By 2009, Dublin had completed a total Wi-Fi network encompassing all city offices/installations and leaving enough to support wifi service provides room on the platform to reach private customers as well. Dark fiber is used to support and connect OhioHealth and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and to promote growth revenues of approximately 20 Dublin-area commercial companies.

Prairie Home Companion - Minnesota

Dakota County, Minnesota

2010 Population 398,500
Just south of Minneapolis-St. Paul is Dakota County, which extends into rural Midwestern Minnesota made famous by Garrison Keillor and the weekly Prairie Home Companion radio show over many decades.

The county is supported by diversified economies: manufacturing, IT, food, clean energy, chemical plants and real estate. During the 2008 – 2009 Recession, the county pushed ahead with partnerships among community colleges, businesses, and government to increase business and jobs. Entrepreneurs bloomed and made use of the enhanced Education and Training programs and schools available.

There is practically no Digital Divide in Dakota County and the few remaining of Dakota Nation for which it is named enjoy the same Wi-Fi as Big Business. IT is a healthy economic base, supplemented by medical devices, logistics, and new industries emerging from partnerships mentioned above.

Jobs have increased considerably, with new ICT jobs equal in number to 8% of the total population. The impressively strong development nonprofit, Dakota Future, is leading toward even more sustainable growth at www.dakotafuture.com.

Declining Industries Replaced In Danville VA

In 1911, young girls rolled cigarettes in the Danville Cigarette Factory.
In 1911, young girls rolled cigarettes in the Danville Cigarette Factory.

Danville, Virginia

2010 Population 49,000

In 1970 Disco America, Danville was the economic stronghold in Central Virginia. Its leading industries lost power in declining textiles and such, so Danville pursues Information Technology into the 21st Century with gusto.

The nDanville open-access fiber network exploded in connectivity for business, government, and residential applications. The fiber infrastructure is self-sustaining and impressive at 125 miles of fiber that serves private and public sectors equally well. In addition, the city and county governments collaborated in a Business Incubator operated with Virginia Tech for a new research entity that investigates ways to create new jobs through innovations in healthcare, aerospace, manufacturing, and many other sectors. It is a winning project.

New employers emerge from the Incubator to become quickly self-sustainable. This attracts other commerce, such as the Danville Ikea plant, the company’s first North American manufacturing plant.

Riverside, California

2010 Population 291,000
Riverside is a college town, which is usually a good sign that recession does not hinder its development of business and jobs. It is also a growing suburb of Los Angeles and Palm Springs, as well as a warehousing and logistics center and citrus hub. Millions of square feet of commercial and industrial space have been added. These five characteristics make Riverside smart.

Strong population growth was not matched by income growth in 2009, but 2010 brought change. New leadership set the goal of making Riverside a high-tech city with increasing numbers of jobs. It partnered with its universities and created technology parks, business incubators, business accelerators and internship/mentoring programs. The turnaround was quick. AT&T deployed a citywide Wi-Fi network, Riverside became an anchor tenant and AT&T began offering free low-speed access, with higher tiers available for a fee. A new fiber network slashed costs. In 2010, wireless networks reach 80% of the city and the Digital Divide is almost closed. Any family that successfully completes training receives a free PC refurbished by ex-gang members. This green program makes Smart Riverside the primate collector of “e-waste” in the region.

[Images this page in the public domain.]

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Comments 10 comments

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

That was a very informative hub. I'm surprised not to see Evanston Wyoming on that list.

I'm from Boulder, Colorado, and will google that list to see if Boulder has ever made it.

Namaste.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Thanks, Deborah - I'll have a look at Evaston and see what's up. It might rate a City Review!


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 6 years ago from Tennessee

Thanks Patty for the well written and interesting article. I was born in Bristol Virginia, and raised across town in Bristol Tennessee, now residing about 25 miles from there. Will make sure to publicize this article locally.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

That's great, samsons1. Bristol is certainly on the move - probably in Tennessee as well.


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

interesting


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Both informative and interesting, Patty. You write so well. Thanks.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Thank, Everyone. I'm closest to Dublin and can say that even the highway interchanges are works of art and landscaping attractions. It's all absolutely packed during the Memorial Tourament, which is coming up shortly. The architecture of the large churches is also interesting, but the city-wide Wi-Fi network is one of the biggest accomplishments. One other suburb has Wi-Fi, but only in 4 square blocks and it is inconsistent connectivity. Dublin is successful with consistent connections.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Nice to see the smartest cities here.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Patty, for writing such a wonderful hub for me to read and full of information.


acts38-39 profile image

acts38-39 6 years ago

Hi Patty!

Great Hub, very nice. And very informative.

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