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Best Smart City in the World: Columbus, Ohio

Updated on April 14, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish offers 25+ years successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

The Old Post Office and Federal Courthouse behind new high rise hotels on Third Street. National Register of Historic Places.
The Old Post Office and Federal Courthouse behind new high rise hotels on Third Street. National Register of Historic Places. | Source

A Fast Changing City

Ohio has progressed exponentially since the latter half of the 20th Century when the rest of the country continued to that State Capital a "Cow Town." By 2013, the city had been designated among the Top Seven Most Intelligent Cities among the 21 smartest chosen worldwide by Intelligent Communities company. Even long-time residents were wide eyed at this headline. By 2015, Columbus, Ohio had become Number One!

Ohio became a US State in 1803 and Columbus celebrated its 200th Foundation Anniversary in 2012. Leading up to that event, Columbus experienced numerous changes that enhanced sustainability, population growth, transportation, jobs, and business climate to result in designation as a Smarter City in sustainability by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2010.

In addition to all that, Columbus was named the Number One High Tech City in America in the late 2000s.

Former Mayor Michael C. Coleman achieved massive refurbishment and upgrading in the city from 2000 - 2008 and the results have brought new businesses to the Central Ohio Area.

Of the Top 7 Smart Cities, only one - Columbus OH - is in the USA.

Downtown skyline from Sports Areas.
Downtown skyline from Sports Areas. | Source

We are no longer Cow Town, but we do have cows and horses at OSU farms within the city and county limits, very near upscale Upper Arlington neighborhoods.

The Top 7 Smart Cities were chosen because of their achievements and effective plans for:

  • Best Practices in Broadband, deployment and use
  • Workforce Development (This is one of my own career fields and I can testify to the fast-growing quality of the workforce development in Columbus.)
  • Innovation
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Human Development Advocacy that can be the examplke to regions, cities, towns and villages all over the world.

Of the Top 7, only one - Columbus OH - is in the USA.

Two other cities are in Canada, joining one in Finland, two in Taiwan, and one in Estonia.

Changes in Columbus from 1960 - 2017

  1. In the mid-to-late 1960s, the land just inside the I-270 outerbelt for about 2 miles into Columbus was all farmland and much of it in disrepair and unused.
  2. New Shopping Malls or renovations at Northland, Great Southern, Great Eastern, Great Western, and Graceland and Worthingon Malls helped to end that vacancy, drawing new apartments, highways, and bus routes. We still had Great Western Shopping Center with its recreation of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in the parking lot to visit, but Westland Shopping Center did not yet exist in the 1960s.
  3. Lazarus West opened on West Broad Street beyond the 1960s bus line terminus and remained alone for about another decade.The, Westland Shopping Center arose and operated unto the early 2010s.
  4. In October 2012, Columbus's first casino, the Hollywood Casino, opened across the street from Westland at Georgesville Road and Broad Street where a lon-lived GM plant had been located.
  5. City Center Mall opened downtown and closed after two decades, but we have a fantastic new green space and concert venue in that spot, now called Columbus Commons.
  6. Trendy new Food Trucks gather at the Commons every month during free concerts.
  7. Our cows and horses are located at OSU farms within the city and county limits, very near upscale Upper Arlington neighborhoods. However, just beyound the city limits on the West Side, visitors can see cows and horses on Amish farms.

The Best of Columbus

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Columbus Zoo.The Book Loft with 32 Rooms of Books, German Village on the Near South Side.
The Columbus Zoo.
The Columbus Zoo. | Source
The Book Loft with 32 Rooms of Books, German Village on the Near South Side.
The Book Loft with 32 Rooms of Books, German Village on the Near South Side. | Source
  • Best! Christmas at the Number One US Zoo - Columbus Zoo and Acquarium -- Our zoo is the Top Rated Zoo in America, thanks to Jungle Jack Hanna since 1978 (35 years in 2013). Before he took the job as Director, the zoo was separate from the city, lacked funding, and consisted of a few crumbling buildings, a couple dozen animals, and totally neglected landscaping on an average sized plot of land for a zoo. Today, it looks as big as DisneyLand when you drive up to the complex and it would take a week to see all its features. The Wild Lights Christmas and Holiday light shows expand every year, but so do the grounds and exhibits. As big as it already is, the zoo will nearly double in the 2010s with a safari-like expansion similar to a related site, The Wilds in Eastern Ohio. Jack Hanna is a hero in Ohio
  • The Best Downtown Urban River Parks. Scioto On the Mile: Mayor Michael B. Coleman has addressed the infratructure of Columbus in the same manner that Jack Hanna tackled thsat of the zoo. Coleman ordered crumbling buildings torn down and replaced with affordable, attractive housing and green spaces, and eliminated the abandoned houses, sector by sector. Mayor Coleman, first elected in 2000, brought over 4,700 new housing units to the downtown area 2002 - 2012. In addition, high tech developments, new businesses in the Aerospace Industry, and other businesses have expanded, added jobs, and become a draw to the city.
  • Columbus, Ohio - #1 High Tech City in America. Columbus and Central Ohio offer careers and job opportunities in Insurance and Financial Products, the Healthcare Industry, Information Technology (IT), Management Analysis, and Skilled Occupations as well as Business Services, Manufacturing (Auto Parts and Aerospace) and Retail.

Center for Science and Industry expanded and moved into old Central High School in the Scioto On the Mile Park.
Center for Science and Industry expanded and moved into old Central High School in the Scioto On the Mile Park. | Source

© 2013 Patty Inglish

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      Ha ha, so funny, RealHousewife! For years I wanted to move away, but now it's pretty good here.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Well now I know why they wouldn't let me move there! Ha!

      Awesome hub...I really do love Ohio:)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image
      Author

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      Hopefully that image will change soon, especially if Columbus has some more attention from its Smart City award in the future. Thanks for posting your comment!

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      Ohio can be proud of itself. Where I now live, I am afraid I always hear how backwards it still is.