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Columbus, Ohio Voted Most Intelligent Community in the United States

Columbus-Skyline-2-300An organization called the Intelligent Community Forum has selected its top seven intelligent communities for 2013 and the only one in the United States is Columbus, Ohio. Here’s what they said.

With an economically and racially diverse population, the city trails the US average in terms of per capita income, but has America’s highest concentration of Fortune 1000 companies per capita.

The city has led in job creation over the past decade,, adding 15,000 net new jobs while much of the rest of the state has struggled with industrial decline and home foreclosures.

Being the state capital has helped, but the success of Columbus has been forged through collaboration among city government, academic institutions, businesses and nonprofits.

Government has reduced spending in the recession but also raised taxes to fund development. That includes investments in workforce development to meet the needs of advanced manufacturing, logistics and information technology companies.

Business and institutional leaders have created nonprofits that engage in downtown development, education, healthcare and cultural projects.

Columbus has traditionally struggled to commercialize technologies created in its schools and universities, but a public-private venture called TechColumbus is working effectively to leverage the region’s research and technology assets into startup companies.

Ohio State University has re-energized its technology transfer office and holds monthly forms for entrepreneurs, while joining forces with Ohio University to create a venture capital fund.

Manufacturing remains challenged: regional employment in that sector declined 30% from 2001 to 2011. But manufacturing productivity has increased 43% per employee and the region is seeing a dramatic rise in job openings for advanced manufacturing, automation, electronics, robotics and industrial design.

Columbus is also reaching out to neighboring municipalities, including Top7 Dublin, to collaborate on building a broadband ecosystem serving the entire region.

Having added 29,000 new jobs from 2010 to 2012, the Columbus metro region is one of few old industrial regions to reverse a “brain drain” and show net in-migration for the first time in decades.

Here’s what Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said in an email.

Columbus was recently named one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities by the Intelligent Community Forum. Columbus was the only U.S. city on the list. The other nominees included:

Oulu, Finland
Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Taichung City, Taiwan
Tallinn, Estonia
Taoyuan County, Taiwan
Toronto Ontario, Canada

“The Top7 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 in announcing the list at the Pacific Telecommunications Council’s annual conference (PTC’13) in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

The Intelligent Community of the Year Award will be unveiled on June 7 in New York City.

I guess we are not all knuckle dragging football fans.

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