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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    in fact be speared That is what I learned in my class at Harvard Monday June 23 2014 Brain Gain how innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption June 23 2014 Global launch of the latest book by Robert Bell John G Jung and Louis Zacharilla But one of Mayor Coleman s first acts was convene a group of local business leaders and lead them on a mission to Toronto Canada He wanted them to see first hand what that city had done to make itself a magnet for immigration and the positive impact the new citizens had had on its economy The Mayor believed that immigration properly channeled was a key to Columbus s economic future and the re energizing of its culture He was persuasive enough that the business leaders who were to form the core of a permanent public private policy group called the Columbus Partnership returned home convinced of this vision and ready to work on its implementation Back at home Mayor Coleman established a program called the New American Initiative which aimed to give all immigrants living in Columbus access to services that would improve their lives Its programs are designed to tackle the challenges of language education affordable housing healthcare and employment Excerpt from Brain Gain by Robert Bell John G Jung and Louis Zacharilla The story about Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and dozens upon dozens of others in Taichung Eindhoven Toronto London and many other global communities are at the heart of a new book launched on June 23 2014 by the Intelligent Community Forum in New York Stories Brain Gain is all about stories That is one of the things that differentiates this book third in a series by Robert Bell John G Jung and Louis Zacharilla from any traditional book on economic development strategic planning and community development in our cities For instance learn how Stratford Ontario Canada s iconic Stratford Festival was created with a mere 125 investment Back in 1952 Journalist Tom Patterson proposed to Stratford City Council that he could convince legendary British director Tyrone Guthrie to come to Stratford to establish a summer Shakespeare Festival in a tent in the park It was obvious to Patterson that no one could resist attending Shakespeare in the park on the banks of the Avon River in a town called Stratford now come on doesn t everyone agree And besides that was 25 more than Patterson originally asked for His council offered the extra amount because New York City in 1952 was considered very expensive Today Stratford is a well known Intelligent Community that excels in the arts and also now has a digital media focus at its University of Waterloo Stratford campus Stories such as these penetrate Brain Gain as it explores the most important issues facing cities today how to attract and retain talented people and secure and retain investment that creates and sustains jobs for the citizens of these cities By citing stories Brain Gain becomes an effective teaching tool illustrating Intelligent Communities successful relationships and results that might not have been recognized before in concepts or professional presentations These stories become memorable insights into the way communities solved their problems and hopefully will inspire others According to Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos who studies Intelligent and Smart cities at the Urban and Regional Innovation Research Centre in Greece Brain Gain offers the authors latest insights from more than a decade of research into the most Intelligent Communities on the planet These cities have found ways to prosper from the relentless rise of Information Technology IT and connectivity that in other places is destroying jobs and making whole industries obsolete at an unprecedented rate The book explores these issues not in theory or at the global level but through the experiences of cities and regions that have faced challenging problems and found imaginative solutions Furthermore David Brunnen of Europe s Groupe Intellex writes ICT inspired job growth is widely reported but for many folk the reality is the opposite job destruction Brain Gain considers how to manage the balance between Drain and Gain More than any other book Brain Gain rams home the reality that collaborative advantage is the new competitive advantage and the winners will be those community leaders who best apply these global insights to their own local economies This book could not have been written without the global insights that bubble up through the long term knowledge sharing programs of the Intelligent Community Forum We all know that change is inevitable What this book does is to put these concepts into context and builds on the positive narratives of citizens leaders and change agents in communities as diverse as Columbus Toronto and Taichung each home to millions of people as well as communities such as Stratford Pirai and Mitchell home to thousands of people These centers have benefited from the application of connectivity and IT to give their businesses many of which are SME s a global competitive edge resulting in significant new employment for each of them Through compelling insights and stories about communities as well as institutional and private sector champions Brain Gain looks at how robust high speed connectivity is enabling and often driving global economic change and the shifts in our societies cultures and well being But no other city at this time can provide stories about its Intelligent Community better than Toronto It is now the leading model in the world having been named on June 4 2014 as this year s Intelligent Community of the Year succeeding Taichung Taiwan We will hear more about Toronto over the course of the year Other success stories in Brain Gain come from the Intelligent Communities of Chattanooga Eindhoven Oulu Riverside and Waterloo Each previous book has followed a theme The theme of Brain Gain is all about talent investment and jobs that are created attracted retained but also those that may be disrupted Pulling on a future theme Community as Canvas

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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    the third claim I make which is that the size of a community no longer matters The size of their ideas the new source of economic energy however counts plenty As Suneet so poignantly noted in his address at the ICF Institute in October his device immediately localizes education by bringing the world to the browsers His strategy for India and anywhere else is simple To end mediocrity in education by accessing the Internet If you watch the video from his address you will see a slide that will pummel you if you live far from a city It reinforces what you may already believe which is that the further away you are the greater the deterioration in the quality of your education and in the quality of your teacher This is the sad case in India It has little to do with parental aspiration or the reliably disappointing lack of performance by national leaders It has everything to do with lack of access lousy roads and crime which makes it intolerable for a good teacher who wants to stay home to teach to do so No one wants this kind of education But that s what they have to accept Suneet said Yet he is optimistic because he has seen the light and it is as simple as a hole in the wall Professor Sugata Mitra s famous Hole in the Wall Experiments in India demonstrated that children taking a standard math test in New Delhi would score on average 68 The further he tested students who lived furthest from the city however the worse the performance The quality of education deteriorated in direct proportion from its distance to the city At 250 kilometers outside of New Delhi the same test generated results in the low teens 70 of the people of India live in places where there are no paved roads which means the government has paved its own way to ignorance The professor than proved Suneet s proposition His office was near a slum Just outside his office was a wall that separated it from his air conditioned office Mitra put a high speed computer in the wall connected it to the Internet and watched to see who might use it To his delight curious children were immediately attracted to the new device When they asked if they could touch it Mitra said It is on your side of the wall The rules say whatever is on your side you can touch And touch it they did Within minutes children figured out how to point and click By the end of the day they were browsing The children quickly taught themselves the rudiments of computer literacy One boy Rajinder is a much better student as a result Said his teacher He has become bold and expressive I ve got great hopes for this child When asked to define the Internet the kid replied It is that with which you can do anything You might even become Suneet Singh and produce a device that takes that hole in the wall and multiplies by millions Our Visionary of the Year has the cred He has taken companies public on the NASDAQ Exchange and has fought the predictable battles with bankers who play by rules as ruthlessly unmerciful to someone with a mission for social good as any you can imagine He has no government fiat in his fists but he has the knowledge the money the energy and the organization to take our fourth criteria Digital Inclusion and to make it more than aspirational It needs to be more than aspirational in places like India where only one in three women can read You can several of your own rural communities to this list as well I bet So for taking a big step toward making The Middle of Nowhere No More we welcome Suneet to our family of Intelligent Community Visionaries I hope that you are able to come to hear him speak on the night of June 5th in New York For more information on the ICF Summit visit www icfsummit com Monday May 5 2014 How One Man Set Out to Build a Creative Economy and Did Twenty years ago the Walla Walla High School hired a consultant named Dennis DeBroeck to install computers and a network in the school They wound up hiring him full time not to manage IT but to teach it in vocational education classes for students who were not expected to go to university When he started his first class there were no computers for the students to work with But Dennis had built his own small businesses so he did not wait for the bureaucracy to deliver but borrowed built and scrounged to provide He started with a course in basic computer science but soon grew dissatisfied with teaching theory to young people who needed and wanted to get elbow deep into something they could care about Computer science soon evolved into hands on digital media modeling of objects animals and people in three dimensions texturizing the models to make them realistic animating them and building simulations and games around them He negotiated cheap licensing deals with the major providers of digital animation and game software and kept expanding his offerings He built his own network because the school s could not possibly support his students needs and assembled terabytes of server storage Today Mr DeBroeck teaches an exhausting schedule of one hour classes for a total of 148 students His technology budget 500 last year has shrunk to zero But he has the air of a happy man His students work hard with more experienced students helping others over the hurdles You can raise your hand to ask Mr DeBroeck a question but his standard answer is to tell you to check the online manuals and figure it out Some kids struggle more than others but they all learn the lesson most fundamental to success in the end you

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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    celebrations that no idea is too small especially if it is good and can be shared globally over the Internet and that these ideas can come from anywhere even from the smallest and remote locations in the world especially if they can be accessed from anywhere else in the world Money and people will follow good ideas no matter where they come from Prosperity will soon follow Other speakers also spoke about the process of becoming the Intelligent Community of Pirai the struggles the process and the many people involved in making that happen It was not simply the work of one leader it took the imagination and fortitude of many volunteers and devoted citizens and businesses to make it happen More impressive than the technology of the day was the vision and the collaboration that it took to see it through I was most impressed in the fact that the Digital Pirai Project survived all these years and is an active and sustainable part of the community a decade later I was reminded by the organizers as they showed me a time line pavilion at the event that in 2005 when ICF gave Pirai the recognition as one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities in the world it was the recognition that they needed at that moment to continue on Sometimes we forget at ICF of the kind of impact we have had on some communities around the word I was proud and honoured at that moment to see where we have helped to make a difference The celebration in the main square with Brazil s iconic former Minister of Culture and long time favorite Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil heralded a celebration of community togetherness like no other I have seen Singing nationally known songs of Mr Gil s repertoire the community embraced the culture but also the spirit of the moment In between songs Mr Gil spoke about Pirai s efforts to be true to themselves to maintain their culture but also look into their future using the technology and applications available to them to teach their children about a better way to live and thrive in modern day Brazil and in the global economy It was inspirational Thank you Pirai for the lesson that no idea is too small and no community too remote especially when you can share the idea around the world easily via access to high speed broadband anywhere in the community Tuesday March 18 2014 What Are They Saying Downtown During that Post Industrial Age hangover the destiny of thousands of businesses cities and villages have been impacted by the rise of the megastore the multinational franchise and the massive shopping mall many of which like the once proclaimed savior of Syracuse NY with poetic names like Destiny The effect of these places has been so great or so damaging depending on whom you believe that theologians might well ask will Walmart be consigned to spend eternal life in Hell or in Heaven Their drawing away of consumers from the center of towns gutted both urban and rural commercial districts Or did it follow a steady path away which was occurring anyway as the global economy took shape The presence of the biggies has led to employment in places where jobs were scarce What kind of jobs Jobs that pay money No one s getting rich the average hourly wage at Walmart is US 12 50 It is a tough move to the middle class on under US 25 000 per year You stay put and you often stay put in a place where downtown is nowhere to be found Intellectuals like me say that is no good but people with families to feed say they will take it until something better pops up The intellectuals also say that the migration of commercial energy away from the traditional downtown will be judged severely by social historians and urban planners most of whom find themselves as defenders of density for its richness and complexity Few dispute this It is density that triggers the levels of creativity and innovation which are key to unlocking the economic potential of the Broadband Economy Only by reconfiguring the urban proposition and restoring balance to the rural so that each is capable of generating not merely jobs but new industries and a confident social purpose can we go forward One goal that I would like to see is a savage disruption of the despondent sounding new normal We ask not how do you manage with less but how do we create a new place for human centering What role do smart technologies play in the new Downtown At the Intelligent Community Forum we are capable of revealing why places like Stockholm Eindhoven or Stratford succeed We can offer data for or profile the implementation of smart traffic systems in Taipei smart lighting in Riverside and smart graffiti remediation in Riverside And it is all good and a necessary first step But we say smart is not intelligent The challenge of course is to fully grasp what I mean when I use the word intelligent Intelligence is many things to many people so is smart by the way but the phrase is in vogue Intelligence is big wide expanding and it is a complex territory for policy setting and planning But those who do it are finding gifts beyond reckoning It is why at most conferences where I speak the default title for the speech is typically Smart Something Or Other But smart only gets you so far and my complaint is that it is too obedient to the linear and engineered and does not take the notion of the community as a canvas seriously I note that most of the smart kids I knew from school reached a plateau shortly after their early bursts of apple polishing and academic achievement in late adolescence They are mechanically speaking doing well and doing the right things in life but they have

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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    host of the Pan Am Games in 2015 and the city and region boasts new institutions from MARs Medical Arts and Related Sciences to Ryerson University s startup community at the Digital Media Zone to a future Innovations Center to be built next to the new Corus Entertainment complex on the Toronto waterfront Waterfront Toronto embraced the Intelligent Community movement and today the condominiums office towers and media centers in the city core and waterfront areas have transformed the way the city looks acts and feels It is an entertainment tourist and cultural center and along with waterfront views and related open spaces and uses the area will further evolve following the Pan Am Games The anniversary opportunity of SMART95 can once again perhaps provide new directions and experiment with the next generation of Intelligent Communities Accordingly it is only fitting that ICF should hold its 2015 Summit in Toronto in 2015 Plans to launch such a major opportunity are just getting underway So watch for news over the next few months and come to the 2014 ICF Summit to learn more it and meet some of the people who will be behind this event Perhaps we may be able to once again try our hand at some unique experiments and collaborative events that will help to demonstrate the art of the possible once again Monday February 3 2014 How Did 17 Million Kenyans Exchange 20 Billion Last Year In 2013 the people of Kenya sent each other US 19 6 billion in payments and money transfers According to Herbert Wattanga author of Nairobi County s Smart21 nomination pictured right the total of their transactions exceeded Kenya s national budget by more than 1 billion And guess what Not one of those transactions went through a bank Instead all of them went through mobile phones At ICF we write a lot about the impact of the broadband revolution on every aspect of our lives and about the urgent need it creates for cities and regions to adapt to its demands You would be hard pressed to find a better example than mobile banking in Kenya even though it uses a technology many years older than smartphones In 2007 a mobile carrier called Safaricom introduced a new money transfer service called M Pesa Up to that point banking in Kenya was largely controlled by foreign banks which tended to serve only the most affluent Kenyans Then the central bank rewrote its regulations in an attempt to expand access to financial services One new regulation allowed mobile operators like Safaricom to provide mobile payments Safaricom s move was meant to be business as usual a new service that would help reduce customer churn It allowed users to load money onto their phones through the same process they used to prepay for airtime Money was moved with a simple text message with each transfer incurring a fee of between 0 25 and 0 70 The money deposited was held not by banks but in an independent trust that Safaricom does not control Business as usual it was not By 2012 there were 17 million M Pesa accounts generating nearly US 300 million in fee income for Safaricom And Safaricom s success pales in comparison to that of Kenya With 70 percent of adult Kenyans and 50 of the poor using it The Economist estimates that M Pesa has boosted national GDP by as much as 25 percent So popular has the service been that it drove an overall increase in mobile penetration from 49 in 2008 to 77 in 2012 and greater phone penetration alone has generated 2 4 trillion in economic growth according to a report by Deloitte Mobile Telephone and Taxation in Kenya 2011 So if you ever wonder what all the fuss about broadband is really about M Pesa offers a clue Sure it s not broadband but it is a revolution in online applications It makes clear that the same technology bringing you you cute cat videos and spam in your inbox can profoundly change lives but only in places that are prepared to seize the benefits technology offers Monday January 27 2014 Incense Rising Taichung and the Announcement Passion is so much a part of motivation So is pride A genuine sense of both filled the massive ballroom in the Millenium Hotel in Taichung last week as I named two new entrants from Taiwan Hsinchu City New Taipei City to the ranks of the world s Top7 Along with them were named five others from Canada and the USA As you can see from the news report on FTV News out of Taipei the place erupted when the names of its two hometown nation finalists appeared For the record there was even robust applause for Columbus and Toronto I learned later that it was coming from people in the room who have an ICF alumni relationship in Columbus and young people who have lived in Toronto The Smart21 also received one more deserved round of applause from a group of 300 community business leaders academic students and Mayor Hu s administration It was a moving three days in Taichung I again saw a community and a nation that few see or bother to look for when considering Taiwan For most of the world and the media it is All China all the time Not here Not within the Intelligent Community movement It is my prediction that China may look a lot more like Taichung someday than Taichung will look like China China is rushing to understand ICF s Wisdom Communities as they call them Good for them Perhaps they too will soon understand what is at the heart of an Intelligent Community great communities thriving on the construction of creative clever open industries and local governance As Taichung Mayor Hu said in his keynote Smart cities do not do foolish things Taichung has certainly not fallen victim to foolishness At least not yet Why do I like this place so much Because it has a soul and as my father used to say it knows how to use its head In my keynote address titled Brain Gain Creating the Cities of the Future with only 1300 grams I quoted tech investor Paul Graham who said of that California phenomenon Silicon Valley that for all its power Silicon Valley has a great weakness It has soul crushing urban sprawl When a money guy like Graham refers to a soul crushing experience I pay attention because it begins to reinforce my belief that a community with creative courage looks at itself as an artist looks at a blank canvas In traditional Taiwanese culture incense means longevity When incense is invoked in art here it is meant to symbolize the extension of today s efforts into eternity This was the ancients way of suggesting sustainability of purpose and person through good work and a long range view When applied to the development of an economy and a community it is the ultimate unmeasured distance between a powerful rich and merely smart place and theTaichungs and Eindhovens whose wealth will be more rounded but immense For sure Taichung has a heart and soul It is big and deep and is accelerating into the future a remarkable economic engine hungry for more talent to drive it Culture is at the heart of the new strategy Taichung has a Cultural and Creative Industries Park upon which it seeks to build industries on the foundation of local culture It is not mere Party sloganeering either Yes I am typing this on an ACER laptop which was made here in Taiwan as are at least 70 of the world s notebooks And yes Taichung is a monstrously successful manufacturer of precision machinery of the high tech kind And yes the real estate industry which underwrote the Top7 Day events here is booming and there is no end to the potential of this place You cannot go three minutes in either direction without seeing construction People are getting rich here but not flashing it And yes they continue to create more wealth They are proud of that and loving it They are also developing another type of wealth that is at the heart of civilization and essential to sustainability That wealth is made from a community which has a policy for excavating innovating upon and using ICT to nurture local culture This is the big idea here Taiwan president Ma must have heard my father s phrase because during a recent trip to Africa Mr Ma former Mayor of Taipei told his guests that despite a lack of natural resources we in Taiwan dig into our brains The story of Taichung s success is about that It is a new idea that has persisted her for nearly ten years It places dual emphasis on culture mining and environmental stewardship Its Calligraphy Greenway project won the first prize in the LivCom Awards program in of all places China The project has transformed an entire swath of the city During the Top7 Announcement dinner a really hot jazz band with an unusual number of saxophones was blowing away Why so many saxes I asked I learned that Taichung is the world s largest exporter of jazz saxophones which they produce for private label brands worldwide Industrial output of this type is a part of the overall strategy This jazz was also reflective of the fact that a lot creative riffing is going on Some of it is massive Taichung is rushing to complete a new opera house the brainchild of Mayor Jason Hu and the famed Japanese architect Toyo Ito It will be the most physically interesting place in Asia to watch people die dramatic deaths courtesy of the genius of Italian composers It is also an ode to the future of democracy Like the idea behind New York s Central Park its massive outdoor park and public spaces within are odes to a place emerging as a strong democracy Democracy and a sense of fairness have taken root and the result is a fusion of East and West at its best What a place American columnist Thomas Friedman has written that with the exception of the USA Taiwan is his favorite country I get it Among the many places I comfortably call home among the 126 Intelligent Communities of the world this place Taichung has a special place in my heart I am happy for them The Mechanical Kingdom has become the Kingdom of the Intelligent Community As the Year of the Horse races toward Asia we acknowledge seven communities two from tiny Taiwan who are out of the gate and running toward the 21st Century by using ICT and yes heart and soul to let their incense continue to rise Good luck to them all and thank you again Taichung Tuesday January 21 2014 City Building Advances with Technology People have built their villages towns and cities for thousands of years Early signs of construction of shelter date back to over 500 thousand years Technology transformed these settlements from the invention of fire and the wheel leading ultimately to applications of the steam engine and from the advent of the automobile to the adoption of the Internet in everyday life of people around the world today Technology whether by revolutionary invention or as everyday innovation has continuously transformed communities and will continue to do so for eons to come However given the technology available to us today it is highly likely that we will see incredible changes ahead in our cities in a shorter period of time than previous decades and centuries This makes it all the more important for decision makers urban and regional planners architects economic development officials and engineers to play a more important role in engaging everyday end users through the use of technology and together to embrace advances in technology to create the most efficient safe and culturally rich communities possible around the world Every village town and city should ask themselves if they are doing this for the betterment of their community and if not it is essential for them to find the ways in which they can The use of sophisticated computers availability of affordable high speed broadband mobile applications advanced software and entirely new approaches to how things should be done mixed with technology savvy and highly trained knowledge workers makes it possible to witness a perfect storm in the works ensuring community wide transformation to occur However for many communities the way healthcare services are provided and municipal services are delivered such as administering zoning and building bylaws community participation practices and development services in the most traditional of ways would suggest that they have not kept up with available technological and procedural advances Municipal planners economic developers and decision makers need to advocate for community wide acceptance of new approaches to undertaking our city building of the future today For instance in the last decade there has been considerable innovation at the intersection of urban planning and technology Availability of open data especially where government data has been made available for others to access and use has been a major catalyst as well as practices such as social networking opportunities crowdsourcing and GIS based advanced mapping applications New approaches to including civic participation and building on sustainable communities initiatives programs based on asset management technologies also referred to as smart cities and programs involving more holistic intelligent community initiatives focusing the work of ultra high speed broadband in community development make this an exceptionally exciting time to be involved in the urban planning environment Technology and future city building initiatives are now hot topics at conferences and trade shows on the lips of civic officials learning about neighbouring communities having benefitted from an asset management exercise with a friendly technology vendor and as part of competing regions rolling out massive programs to ensure the efficiency sustainability or attractiveness of their community to attract investment or talent to their community To ensure that our cities are being planned to transform in the way that will best benefit our current and future citizens urban planners and their colleagues in the architecture economic development and engineering fields as well as politicians in city councils must be open to adopting and investing in technology and new techniques beyond incorporating computers and flat screen monitors in Council Chambers For instance asset managers in Cambridge Ontario worked with IBM to become the first Smarter Planet community to use routers and other data management tools and processes to monitor city infrastructure which has helped the city to more efficiently service their citizens and plan for their infrastructure and maintenance budgets In architecture infrastructure development and engineering design technology has transformed its boundaries Using digital technology permits complex calculations to assist in creating complex forms increasing the possibilities in architectural design that has benefits far beyond the building use itself For example Frank Gehry designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles among others using a design process similar to that used to design Mirage jet fighters from conceptualization through to manufacturing Other architects and design engineers are using advanced computations and design technologies to create new ways to design and implement their creations and ensure the safety of the designs especially as lighter thinner materials are being used But the benefits are more than about the buildings themselves They evoke excitement and dynamic possibilities about their community that attracts investment tourists and talent such as has evolved in Bilbao since the Guggenheim Museum was created It inspires others to be part of a community that thinks beyond the banal and conventional and as a result is a strong advocate and tool for attracting and retaining key resources in their community the talent and human resources that come together in civil societies around the world and have options to move to where the best opportunities exist This has been referred to as the stickiness of a city to be able to retain the investment and talent that it initially grew or attracted Excellence in urban design architecture and planning can make the difference between a dynamic and well regarded community that everyone would want to live in and one that experiences annual brain drain and investment exodus Technology in infrastructure and civic design are extremely important applications but so too are communications and civic approval processes involving the everyday citizens of a city For instance in Brazil the State of Rio Grande do Sul pursued a web based policy crowdsourcing initiative in which citizens were invited to co design solutions to address health challenges in the state Through the use of technology the state received over 1 300 proposals resulting in more than 120 000 votes on the prioritization of these different proposals Normally initiatives facilitated by technology have been characterized by relatively low response in terms of citizen engagement but this example demonstrates a change in how people are beginning to accept technology in urban planning practices The City of Melbourne s strategic city planning process is another example where technology has aided in the development of a dynamic real time process to help reengineer their planning process through the use of a wiki permitting broader public participation Much like what people today experience through active involvement with Wikipedia Melbourne s plan called Future Melbourne is designed to permit anyone to edit it In other jurisdictions graphic modeling is used to explore options to define building intensification or the shape of buildings to ameliorate negative wind and sun conditions Experiments in civic design using monitoring equipment and video also help planners to design better spaces places and urban experiences The ubiquitous piano stairs experience is not only fun but helps planners to better understand how people relate to urban form and movement systems Others experiment with technology to create unique lighting designs and messages on buildings and through projections

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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    upward in a straight line Hell no When did it ever except after several drinks on the last day of a year when our nostalgia got the best of us Now it nearly Midnight Friends and community are waiting It is time to have those drinks enjoy the possibilities and tomorrow get on the path forward Monday December 23 2013 Smart Cities are Early Adopters I would like to amplify on my colleague s last blog as I too participated in The Economist Web debate on Smart Cities I too voted no Smart Cities are not empty hype but I wasn t surprized by the split vote As Robert Bell stated in the last blog Smart Cities are about using a new generation of cheap powerful sensors data storage and software to automate cities using information and communications technology ICT to do more with less Cities that have become involved in these tech enhanced programs like are quite happy with their asset management initiatives But having worked with some of these cities I cannot say that they would qualify as Intelligent Communities They could if they go the next steps and build on the platform that has been built for them by the Smart City technology firm So my position was a little different I felt that these tech companies are doing these cities a big favor by helping them to get a terrific grounding on the first level of intelligent communities namely by focusing on what we call getting the infrastructure right Here is what I said I think it s essential to have smart cities They are not just empty hype Whether they evolve as a result of public policy first or come originally in a box from vendors promoting it to the city technocrats perhaps without a clear picture of where the community is going with it the end result is the same like early adopters these communities will have the benefit of the experience of greater efficiencies in transportation utilities etc improved budgets and overall longer term sustainability than without them Citizens technocrats and decision makers alike will greatly benefit from this experience and want to constantly improve upon their smart community with increased connectivity perhaps even seek to develop ultra high speed broadband throughout their community like Toronto s Waterfront or Chattanooga perhaps more wireless monitoring capabilities will be installed to capture even more data but which might also double up as free Wi Fi for their citizens and maybe even some visioning among thought leaders in the community might result to help to develop a plan to improve their community further or take advantage of underutilized land or buildings which might benefit from these smart services Their city asset managers will greatly benefit from these and likely promote further improvements and maybe even seek more ways for their community to benefit from these smart technologies and methodologies Sooner or later the benefits will also attract investors perhaps even FDI and businesses who want to be associated with these efficient and well planned communities Talent will be attracted to join these new job opportunities more talent will be needed and perhaps local educational institutions will be brought into this activity not only for training to meet the needs of analyzing the big data generated by the smart city but also to investigate and undertake research on what these and future smart cities need how to create them better and other related research in support of smart region planning and execution With these institutions involved more talent is created and attracted to be involved in the local smart community activities Some of these will be highly innovative and creative people benefitting from the smart technologies available in the smart community They might even incubate homegrown businesses as start ups creating innovative products and services that can be commercialized and exported abroad bringing further wealth and prosperity to the area These benefits and increased prosperity can now be shared among the disadvantaged disenfranchised the elderly and single mothers and young children Those disadvantaged in a smart city should be able to benefit from available digital training and become digitally included offering some new opportunities for them and their children I have seen this in the Knowledge Squares in Rio and even in smaller locations such as Riverside California With a smart city as a platform you can begin to get onto the pathway to a higher level of community wide engagement bringing education thought leadership and public policy into the game Ultimately we will want to see these ideas entrenched into public policies so that plans budgets and community wide acceptance and continuous improvement become part of this exercise With all of these elements in place I dare say the marketers of the community better step up and promote the city to attract even further investment talent and jobs to this smart community But at this point I would suggest it goes beyond the concept of smart It has been said by the Mayor of Stratford Canada that you have to be a Smart City to become an Intelligent Community Where the city transforms from smart to Intelligent is another topic for debate but it clearly goes beyond the infrastructure analysis of big data and begins to get into the attitude culture and philosophy of true city building along with its citizens that makes it become intelligent But it has to start somewhere and I would say that it all starts with the smart city Empty Hype Not at all a great platform upon which to build upon Monday December 16 2013 Are Smart Cities Empty Hype This bracing question is posed on the Web site of The Economist and visitors are invited to vote yes or no as well as to post their own comments The voting closed with a hair thin 54 46 victory for no which must be demoralizing for the brilliant technology companies promoting Smart City solutions I was one of the no votes Smart Cities are not empty hype But I suspect the current split decision reflects an uncomfortable truth that the hype to reality ratio is pretty high Smart Cities are about using a new generation of cheap powerful sensors data storage and software to automate cities in the same way we have automated factories over the past decades They are about using information and communications technology ICT to do more with less Processes that once operated in the shadows become visible and measurable which lets cities make better choices Everything happens faster and more reliably which makes constituents happy Costs fall permanently because more efficient processes need fewer people to run them It s all valuable It s just not the revolution that some claim it to be The revolution lies in taking the next step in setting out on the path to become an Intelligent Community Here the goal is to do more with more Intelligent Communities use ICT to generate more economic energy in the form of new employment from new employers and new industries They work to break down social and cultural barriers that hold back part of their populations allowing the benefits of a knowledge based economy to spread far and wide They even use ICT to strength preserve and extend the culture of communities that invisible glue that binds together individuals into a whole and makes a place into a home I would go so far as to say that Smart Cities are about adapting to limits to shrunken municipal budgets lower ambitions and a vision of the future less prosperous than today Intelligent Communities are about envisioning a future limited only by our imaginations and our ambitions for the place we live work and raise the next generation Municipal leaders need to respect the limits of the present But those limits should never be permitted to define the future Monday December 9 2013 2013 Goes Home Going home The phrase resonates at so many levels every time I hear it Most recently the American president Obama used it referring to the final place to which Nelson Mandela had been called upon his passing in Johannesburg South Africa After a remarkable nine and one half decades nearly three of them in jail a lonely struggle and in the end a miraculous transformation from an old tribalism to enlightened national community Mandela set us on a course which remains one part aspirational and one part achieved With his work on Earth now finished said the young American president he had been called home As we all shall be he added In 2013 no doubt as it was in 1320 Home is the word we all embrace for its emotional composition It is both refuge and yet for many still an elusive aspiration At the moment Mandela exited you can be sure that a long long way away the polite ebullient students of Taoyuan County s Chung Ping elementary school a celebrated rural school full of great teachers and digital tools were also headed home as the day s final bell rang As I witnessed when visiting in the Spring a final bow to the teacher ends the day and children file out in an orderly well kind of orderly fashion These children too go home in this case to their parents knowing that they will rise again the next morning in one of the world s Top7 Intelligent Communities and in a country Taiwan that in 2013 claimed for the second time in seven years the world s best example of our collective future In June Taichung was named Intelligent Community of the Year It was the type of place Mandela had in mind for his own nation s communities including Nelson Mandela Bay a 2009 ICF selection As 2013 posts its final grade I can report that in terms of its cities and towns communities and cultures it was a year of progress The Mandela vision of one world moved one inch closer to reality It was a year when the notion of enlightened tribalism was further embraced Thanks to the work of Intelligent Community leaders like Mayors van Gijzel Halloran and Hau Lung bin Taipei is to Eindoven what Waterloo is to Suwon Irrespective of culture or language the identification of a like minded city with similar aspirations and policies shaped by five basic indicators has produced a new form of global governance and cooperation One of the Intelligent Community Forum Foundation s major achievements of the year its Connections program allows communities with much in common to build upon their intelligence and capacities If you set aside the policy papers city council debates legal battles over municipal fiber ownership and the circular confusion over how to best teach people in an era when knowledge has burst through the retaining walls and what we need to know is challenged these communities working together offer cohesion and promise Cohesion and promise formed around a new set of guidelines and realities In each you will hear quality of life spoken of as if a right access debated not as something that might be useful but rather in terms of how fast it can be installed and culture being examined not merely as tourism or a Sunday visit to the local museum but as a natural resource with economic development and gross domestic local product output as its goal While these ideas have been in the air since 1995 the Intelligent Community movement has brought them squarely into the discussion and into the imagination of a new corps of leaders and thinkers 2013 was a watershed year Our year began in January when seven communities were designated as exemplars for all to look toward for guidance The Top7 of 2013 continue to construct admirable home towns One of them Toronto even demonstrated in 13 that a futuristic community can go forward with a backward looking leader In Canada s other Intelligent Community Stratford the future was in sight and the mayor led the way In the two Taiwanese cities among the year s elite seven Taoyuan and Taichung the persuasive strength of their mayors showed the rest of the population the way home Columbus USA Oulu Finland and Tallinn Estonia were examples of places where without a public fuss or dust ups foundations were laid for the future even as headwinds challenged the journey An Intelligent Community is one that is future proof Columbus created nearly 30 000 jobs even as America struggled to regain its economic footing Oulu continued to build an entrepreneurial engine despite having a limited history of doing so and Tallinn as it had done in 1991 pushed its chips to the center of the table again this time betting that education would be the dog that would hunt and hunt well for its citizens in the long term Not all of our alumni communities thrive but all continue to imagine they will and keep at it In 2009 Nelson Mandela Bay became the last Intelligent Community named from South Africa In its annual report the city reported 100 compliance with both fresh water standards and the provisioning of electricity It also created nearly 1 600 new jobs But it has not been easy It reported too that its persistent challenges include a need to develop a shared long term vision and a mission to provide a strategic focus for long term planning It has a 28 unemployment rate But it is free at last and that is not a small thing It is also an Intelligent Community because in 2009 it set itself a task of getting home no matter what the price and showed us the plan and its tenacity We can say it holds its own because it knows that now is not the time to let go of its future After all this is a place named after a giant The most inspired words of the year came spontaneously from the Keynote speaker at our Institute s annual Symposium at Walsh University As he patiently explained to a rapt audience why his Aakash II computer is creating the next one billion mobile users Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli told his story of how the device was created and how it has begun turning India and the developed world inside out and upside down His vision is Apple s with a social conscience Aakash may do for the three billion underserved what the iPad has done for those of us grateful to be among the over privileged It will make a profit and much more I am not by nature an optimist he began but listening to the people in this room and in this movement I can say that there is no longer any room for pessimism For these words alone 2013 was a year to cherish Pessimists need not apply in 2014 Monday December 2 2013 Charging for Internet at Hotels is so Yesterday Over my career I have spent a considerable amount of time in hotel rooms I am currently writing this from the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan looking at their hotel website and wondering why I am facing a 27 Euro per day charge for Internet services in my hotel room Like you I have been surprised how inconsistent the hotel world is about providing access to the Internet for their customers Generally around the world it could be free in the hotel lounge or for around 15 20 per day it could be made available in the comfort of your hotel room But when hotels charge hundreds of dollars per night as it is couldn t they at least throw in the basics of connectivity They provide basic television but charge to see newly released movies That is fair But isn t it ironic that the most expensive hotels like the Intercontinental will charge you 20 per day but the least expensive hotels such as the Hilton Garden Inns will offer it for free It s a minefield of variances out there some offer it for free in the main lounge while others offer it free everywhere either as WiFi or as a dedicated line in the room Some as in Tallinn Estonia even provide free hi grade Skype in the room complete with a Skype device But others charge for a service that might cost the hotelier less than 1 per day and could otherwise help them to market their brands better offer a relatively inexpensive part of the hotel infrastructure as part of the basic hotel charge or simply motivate them to get into the new world and stop gouging for it When cities have found a way to provide free WiFi to its visitors and citizens why do hotels still charge their customers for Internet It s simple actually in a world of declining occupancy hotels believe they need to charge for everything they could beyond their base room rental as an added source of revenue Sound familiar Airlines now charge for baggage in a lucrative move that added millions to their bottom line but are hated for this by their customers and will rue the day when it comes back to bite them so why not charge for Internet access in hotels Telephone revenues for hotels have virtually disappeared with the advent of cell phones Perhaps hotels might try charging for bags next or you could offer to swap the expensive toiletries for free Internet access only kidding Mr Hotelier For Road Warriors who might average 50 hotel nights a year the Internet charges could wind up ending up to be between 500 and 1000 per year This extra charge can be offset with personal Internet devices such as Rocket sticks or by other ways to work around it Sprint for instance offers a small credit card sized MiFi mobile Internet device that allows multiple users to access the Internet It is also possible to ask for rooms on

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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    place they can call home And it is a fine place As a result of its commitment to community as a path to peace something much greater emerged That happened in 1992 in Mozambique where the Sant Egidio movement had already established a presence that was respected by all parties As a result the nation s brutal 15 year war was brought to a truce and then to a peace with Sant Egidio representatives at the table moderating the General Agreement The group is credited with being the glue that has held that peace for 20 years Despite rising tensions today the glue still grips It is jarring to think that a small group from a neighborhood in Rome could ultimately grow to have that kind of influence by employing a few simple intelligent principles However to ultimately become an Intelligent Community a sense of trust peace and commitment to home come before all else It is food for thought As the Intelligent Community Forum comes up on the first anniversary of its participation last year at the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo where I was invited to speak at a forum that included former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who is also committed to developing a more peaceful Africa in his case through petitioning for an increase in Internet access education for women and economic justice it is good to remember that the reason ICF was invited to Norway was to help answer the question of whether healthy integrated digitally inclusive communities could be a catalyst for more free and open societies That the discussion that we have been having since 1995 had risen to this level signifies that the volunteers from the inspired community of Sant Egidio in 1968 the homeless men of St Vincent s in New York in 2013 and the 21 communities in our 2014 awards program all share a common belief that home is where the ever elusive path to lasting peace begins In this place none of us are foreigners Follow LouICF on Twitter Monday November 11 2013 China s Evolution to Create Intelligent Communities I have yet to bring out my abacus but if I was a betting man I would say that there are probably at least 1000 or more smart cities and Intelligent Communities either in existence under construction or being planned around the world today I can tell you that in China alone there are 193 smart cities that have already been listed but perhaps as many as 800 smart city projects may be on the drawing boards in China expected to cost 300 billion to execute In India there are at least 2 smart cities per state being designed or in development that is 56 to you and me and probably more ICF currently lists 126 Intelligent Communities to date and we have hundreds of communities who annually attempt to get onto the Smart21 list I read about one newly named community per week in real estate journals and global newspapers that I have never heard about before that promotes itself as a unique smart park or smart city Many of these start off simply as a real estate play morph into a community wide application and sooner or later emerge as a smart city infrastructure program As it matures the chance that it begins to follow ICF s criteria becomes more realistic every day until we perhaps see it emerge as a Smart21 community and then evolve to become recognized as an Intelligent Community Recently I visited China and was surprised to learn of the depth and extent of the activities around what my hosts refer to as their smart city developments According to Quan Zang General Manager of the Application Development Consulting Business Unit from Pactera Technology International Ltd a global consulting and technology services firm headquartered in Beijing 2013 has seen a boom of smart city pilots in China with support from the State and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development Their smart city programs in China are strategically attached to their new urbanization agenda Says Mr Quan We define smart cities as utilizing an integrated urban development and management model based on information technology and orchestrated application systems Our smart cities programs cover aspects such as living green architecture community health education security transportation and environment By sharing data and information resources the movement will help create a new management eco system The Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development released a list of 90 smart city pilots in January 2013 followed by a list of 103 cities districts towns and industrial zones in August to be developed as smart cities To view the complete list of 193 communities in China click here Mr Quan and his team are keen to move forward with these smart city pilots indicating that they are currently working hard on one such project in Chongqing He said that developing smart cities is a necessary road to follow aligning it to China s new urbanization efforts According to Mr Quan among the smart city development aspects smart industry is the most critical factor to improve the local economic development GDP and improve the quality of life and people s satisfaction Says Mr Quan Pactera is looking forward to co operate with domestic and international Smart City hardware vendors and software solution providers to realize China s smart city plans We will work together to build up China s homegrown smart city solutions and share them with the Smart City market with our partners all over the world Chinese municipalities developers and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development are also keen to better understand the evolution of these smart city projects into Intelligent Communities recognizing that they must go beyond the basic fundamentals of infrastructure to include knowledge workforce strategies and the creation attraction and retention of talent in these communities the application of strategies to build an innovation ecosystem initiatives to ensure that all members

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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    our second symposium at the Institute for the Study of the Intelligent Community next week this attempt is underway everywhere Incubators in Columbus and Dublin Ohio USA are attempting to prod new ideas to grow beyond tiny rooms where entrepreneurs give it all that they have all day for the sake of a dream It is the same in Taichung Taiwan where advances in industries ranging from agriculture to logistics will spawn and break out of those verticals to find new ground and new markets When I report on the state of the Intelligent Community I will say that it is growing When 21 new additions are made to our alumni of communities next Monday evening in a little city called North Canton Ohio you will see dreams and hopefully more of us will wake to them in the morning How Committed Citizens Change the World At an ICF workshop in Lafayette Louisiana this week I was asked a poignant question Are other countries far ahead of the US when it comes to broadband The question came up as I was telling the story of an Intelligent Community in Europe to this group of mayors members of council and city and parish staff from rural communities in the southern half of the state There are two answers to the question The first is that according to objective experts like the Information Technology Innovation Foundation the US is not behind at all ITIF s most recent report states that The US is near the top of the rankings in terms of the deployment and adoption of high speed wired networks and leads the OECD in adoption of advanced wireless LTE broadband networks US broadband speeds also rank in the top 10 in the world For the other answer I can quote instead from science fiction author William Gibson who said that the future is here it s just not evenly distributed The US tolerates a much higher level of inequality in broadband distribution as it does in most social matters than most industrialized nations Market forces rule and markets where providers can make lots of money win out over thinly populated regions where the cost of deployment per user is high And if that is all there was to it we would have had a very short conversation Instead half the workshop was spent talking about the ways in which market power translates into political power The City of Lafayette built a fiber to the premise network beginning in 2004 and wound up fighting a 4 5 million legal battle with incumbents to win the right to compete with them Following their inability to shut down the city the incumbents went to the legislature where they succeeded in guiding the Local Government Fair Competition Act into law More properly termed the Cartel Protection Act the law blocks every other Louisiana municipality from owning and operating a network offering service to the public which effectively frees the incumbents not to compete where they don t want to I use the term cartel advisedly By rights I think telecom providers should be the Intelligent Community s best allies and I salute those with the vision and courage to be exactly that But so many of them seem to prefer instead the economics of the cartel which are at the root of most of the world s under development problems in both rich nations and poor ones When the guys with the money can also control politics to protect their interests progress stops Or it would if the cartels had things all their own way What the Lafayette workshop revealed was the great shared frustration of rural parishes and cities with their inability to get the high speed wired network and advanced wireless LTE broadband networks that their urban peers enjoy There was talk of forming an action committee to educate rural mayors and councils and to develop policy recommendations that could spark a genuine debate not the one behind closed doors that cartels prefer on the state s broadband policies Who knows how far it can go The anthropologist Margaret Mead once wrote words that still send chills up my spine despite they re being so widely quoted Never doubt she said that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world Why This is the part that gets those chills rippling upward because she wrote it s the only thing that ever has Monday October 7 2013 Wanted Champions of Change Last week I led a workshop for about twenty people in a graceful Civil War era building in the beautiful city of Natchitoches Louisiana USA In my opening remarks I thanked the anonymous resident who posted a video to YouTube explaining how to say what it called the hardest place name to pronounce in the USA Say NAK eh tish and you have it about right Twenty people mayors and members of Council from small rural cities and towns economic development directors librarians social workers and telecom executives They had agreed to attend one of ICF s Master Classes on the promise that it would address Making Broadband Pay Off for Rural Louisiana It is part of a year long project funded by a federal grant and the state s Office of Information Technology and administered by a tri state economic development organization called the Coordinating and Development Corporation The rural places of Louisiana are behind the curve when it comes to adopting broadband According to a state study the adoption rate is 58 compared with 68 nationwide Of the 42 that do not have broadband at home nearly two thirds said that it was available they have just not subscribed to it Which means they are missing out on the 262 billion in US consumer e commerce spending and the 559 billion in online purchasing by business and government They are missing out on business attraction and retention on educational opportunities and on the chance to use social

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  • Intelligent Community Forum (ICF)
    elderly residents of Reading Pennsylvania about 140 miles 224 km west of the city interact with one another and with government support services Then personal computers came along and Red Burns refocused her program renaming it the Interactive Telecommunications Program or ITP It created a refrigerator that projected a picture of a mother s face on the back wall When a visitor took a box of chocolates out of the refrigerator the mother image said Yeah that s just what you need More chocolate And when the dot com era began IPT rolled with it A 2007 student project put sensors into the soil around plants which signaled over a telephone line when a plant was thirsty Silly stuff Maybe But through projects like these Ms Burns helped ITP turn out 3 000 highly imaginative graduates Working for Disney Microsoft Apple Google and small start ups they now make up the core talent that drives the success of Silicon Alley From 2007 to 2011 according to the Center for an Urban Future almost 500 start ups received venture financing That accounts for a 32 percent rise in VC deals at a time when other areas including Silicon Valley have seen a decline in new company financing This is a critical change in the New York economy which for decades has been dominated by finance and traditional media and has suffered the severe ups and downs that come with being an almost one industry town Much of the credit goes to Red Burns who was not an executive investor lawyer or other member of the American elite but an educator Her product was not video refrigerators or telephone calling plants but a new culture of innovation ideally suited to the today s intersection of computers broadband information and entertainment Thanks Red Photo credit Hiroko Masuike The New York Times Tuesday September 3 2013 So what s your Gig In 2011 I visited Chattanooga one of ICF s Top 7 Intelligent Communities for an ICF site visit Frankly I had visited Chattanooga a couple of decades earlier and wasn t impressed then but today I was blown away The winds of change had been kind to Chattanooga But the new kinds of speeds being discussed in Chattanooga today are daunting by any measure Across the shining boardroom table Harold DePriest the President and CEO of the Chattanooga owned Electric Power Board EPB beamed as he told me the history of the EPB and their decision to be North America s first Gigabit City Propped by a stimulus grant of 111 million from the Department of Energy to accelerate the project EPB began formulating plans for a Smart Grid network more than a decade ago According to Mr DePriest Chattanooga s Smart Grid runs on a 100 fiber optic network upon which EPB were able to add two way communications up and down the grid not only at the smart meter but also to each of their 170 000 home and business premises Our three main goals for the 300 million investment in the network were to modernize our electric power infrastructure generate the revenue for it to pay for itself and then most importantly to be a catalyst for economic development Mr DePriest proudly positions Chattanooga as the grandfather of Gigabit networks since its deployment was in 2009 well before others City fathers saw the city owned network more than just the city s smart power grid saving 100 million each year from power interruptions Mr DePriest and other civic leaders saw it as a springboard to Chattanooga s future able to attract and retain talent and investment in new tech companies promoting economic growth To build on this Chattanooga rebranded itself as Gig City and to gain acceptance and develop new end user applications it hosts an annual Gigafest Across the globe Japan Korea UK and others are now deploying efforts to become true Gigabit cities in the likes of Chattanooga Asian cities and even whole nations are planning to be fully Gig enabled China is positioning itself to launch Gigabit speeds in key urban areas by 2020 and US Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has raised the innovation and job creation bar by calling for US cities in 50 States to be Gig enabled by 2015 But what is so big about Gigabit Ethernet speeds anyways Well for those not strapped into your seatbelts it is hundreds of times faster than you currently surf over the Internet 1 Gigabit equals 1 024 Mbps versus your father s fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps which most people never experience anyways It s more likely you might experience 10 Mbps over a shared coaxial cable or less such as 2 or 3 Mbps in less expensive service offerings Mr DePriest knows that his system is able to attract talent and investment to their community The bar has been raised and before cities and countries know it those without will be left behind Another line has been drawn in the sand Cities around the world already know this Koreans enjoy affordable ultra fast Internet speeds that allow them to download movies in an instant watch high definition television and do countless operations at a time in their homes while their fellow countrymen at work are able to work in real time with large datasets to solve industrial biotechnical and business questions daily that would take 200 times longer elsewhere According to Lee Suk Chae chairman of Korea Telecom in the future we will see a data deluge data will explode all over the network Cities and countries will have to prepare for it now Seattle Chief Technology Officer Erin Devoto said Seattle s gigabit network is critical to our economic growth Likewise Kansas City Mayor Joe Reardon says that US cities are now recognizing the value of high speed fiber to the home connectivity as essential infrastructure Much like we think of curbs and sidewalks and sewers the kind of backbone that cities

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