When innovation is based on information and communications technology, it is called an Intelligent Community, according to The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).
On January 23, 2103, the group named its 2013 Top 7 Intelligent Communities of the Year.
“The Top 7 communities of 2013 have made innovation – based on information and communications technology –the cornerstone of their economies and fostered economic growth through high-quality employment, while increasing the quality of life of their citizens,” said Lou Zacharilla , ICF co-founder.
Only one U.S city made that list -- Columbus, Ohio.
One reason the city made the list was due to the increase in employment. The city has added 42,500 new jobs since 2010. Part of that was achieved through “collaboration among city government, academic institutions, businesses and nonprofits,” the group said.
While employment in the manufacturing sector declined 30% from 2001 to 2011, the region is seeing a “dramatic rise in job openings for advanced manufacturing, automation, electronics, robotics and industrial design,” the group concluded.
Manufacturing is a key sector in the region, representing nearly 20% of the workforce in nine of 11 counties.
A favorable tax climate has also helped the region. "The tax liability rate is incredibly attractive," says Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer of Columbus 2020, a Columbus, Ohio, economic-development group. "It is certainly helpful to the Columbus region where new manufacturing projects account for 45% of all new economic projects this past year.”
Recent manufacturing expansions include:
- Honda Motor Corp. announced it will build its new Acura NSX sports car at a new plant in central Ohio.
- Parker Hannifin Corp., a supplier of motion and control technologies, opened a Hybrid Drive Systems Division.
- MSC Industrial Direct Co., Inc., a distributors of metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (“MRO”) products, will build a distribution facility for $55 billion creating 300 jobs by 2017.
- Niagara Bottling LLC, the largest privately-held, family-owned manufacturer of bottled water in the country, will invest $50 million adding 73 jobs.
- USA Vinyl, LLC, a manufacturer of vinyl fencing invested $2.5 million, adding 25 new jobs over the next three years.
- Autotool, Inc., a single-source supplier for complete automation systems, will invest $4 million creating 30 jobs.
ICT pointed out that while the city had struggled to commercialize technologies created in its schools and universities, a public-private venture called TechColumbus is working “effectively to leverage the region’s research and technology assets into startup companies.”
Other cities on the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of the Year include:
- Oulu, Finland
- Stratford, Ontario, Canada
- Taichung City, Taiwan
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Taoyuan County, Taiwan
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada