Smart city list whittled down soon

IPSWICH will find out this month if we will be one of the magnificent seven in the race to be named the world's smartest city.

In October, Ipswich achieved the title of Australia's smartest city and one of the world's most intelligent when it won a spot among finalists on the Intelligent Communities Smart21 list.

The Smart21 announcement is the first stage in the Intelligent Community Forum's (ICF) annual Intelligent Community Awards cycle.

On January 19, ICF will announce the top seven of 2011 at the annual conference of the Pacific Telecommunications Council in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Intelligent Community of the Year Award will be announced in New York in June at the end of the ICF's Building the Broadband Economy Summit.

Other Smart21 finalists include:

Birmingham, UK.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India.

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Shanghai, China.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said yesterday that progressing in the awards cycle would be wonderful, but the city's achievement so far was pleasing enough.

“To me, just being the only city in Australia on the list is absolutely fantastic,” Cr Pisasale said.

“I'm not stressing too much about whether we make the top seven or if we win. 2010 was a great year and we have a lot to be proud of.”

He said this year would see the launch of the history of Global Information Links (GIL), which contributed to its Smart21 status.

The landmark scheme saw Ipswich become the first local authority to provide internet access.“That's something I started back in 1995 when I realised industry was on the decline in Ipswich and it's turned out to be a fantastic idea,” Cr Pisasale said.

“In politics, it's not often you see ideas you have come to fruition during your time in office, but that's one that has.”

Since then, Cr Pisasale said, Ipswich gained two university campuses, achieved an unemployment rate below the state average and saw thriving development.

The Intelligent Community's website praises Ipswich for turning around from double-digit unemployment in the 1970s and 1980s to about 4.3 per cent today.

Springfield has also been lauded as a masterplanned community, with the high-tech Polaris data centre a key part of its success.

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