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1,045 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
City with smarts
Future looks bright for Waterloo after Intelligent Community prize
NEW YORK CITY (May 19, 2007)

Celebrating with the Intelligent Community of the Year trophy in New York yesterday are (from left) Waterloo CAO Simon Farbrother, Mayor Brenda Halloran, Shirley Fenton and Coun. Mark Whaley.

It's only just begun. As a result of being named the world's most intelligent community, Waterloo can look forward to more globally oriented businesses settling here, more highly educated workers wanting to move here and more innovation for everyone.

Those are the predictions of euphoric Waterloo representatives after the Intelligent Community Forum announced yesterday that Waterloo is the winner among seven finalists worldwide.

The top intelligent community is chosen by a combination of an international jury decision and a statistical breakdown of information about each community, compiled by a research firm.

Among the qualities judged are: how well connected the citizens are to the Internet, how well educated its workers are, how innovative and co-operative the community is, and how well it markets itself.

On all those counts, the city of Waterloo is "a tidal wave of a town," said Lou Zacharilla, director of development for the forum, a non-profit think-tank based in Manhattan.

"The town that invented the BlackBerry . . . they have created the Nirvana of intelligent communities," he said after a two-day conference entitled Building the Broadband Economy.

He praised not only the research done at Waterloo's two universities and its high-technology organizations and businesses, but also the "magnificence" of its philanthropy, including the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Excited Waterloo officials said the designation would bring immediate and long-lasting benefits.

"Now we're going to be able to go global," Mayor Brenda Halloran said after she accepted the award from the forum, flanked by Coun. Mark Whaley, University of Waterloo computer systems group research associate Shirley Fenton and Waterloo's chief administrative officer, Simon Farbrother, all of whom worked for two years to get the designation.

Halloran and others predicted other communities will now start flocking to Waterloo to see how things are done, and that its reputation will be enhanced among business leaders and highly educated workers alike.

Last year's winner of the award, Taipei, received more than 400 visits from other communities worldwide.

Waterloo already plans to host two international conferences as an intelligent community: one in October on how broadband technology can save energy and another in May 2008 when representatives from other countries visit New York, Waterloo and other North American cities as part of a continental tour of "intelligent communities."

"I see more companies wanting to have Waterloo as their home. These will be global-thinking companies," Fenton said as she considered Waterloo's future.

She also envisioned better technology for the average citizen, leading to a more democratic society.

For example, people could watch webcasts of city council meetings from their homes and could pass around a "virtual microphone," asking questions that would get immediate answers from staff and politicians.

A project with the Waterloo Public Library, which allows highly skilled immigrants to find out about Waterloo online before they even move here, is just the beginning of using the Internet to make information more publicly accessible.

"We're at the tip of the iceberg," she said.

Councillor Whaley said the award gives Waterloo more leverage to attract the best-educated workers in the world.

"It gives Waterloo a chance to tell its story on a larger stage," he said. "That was our mission 30 months ago when we started."

Chief administrative officer Farbrother agreed Waterloo's currency has now soared.

"Reputation is incredibly important, and today the city of Waterloo's reputation went up," he said. "That will have a positive impact socially, politically, culturally and, of course, economically."

Regional Coun. Sean Strickland said Waterloo has a long history of innovation.

The University of Waterloo pioneered co-operative education in Canada and pioneered a controversial policy to allow its students and professors, rather than the university, to own discoveries they made from university-based research. This added to the region's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Looking ahead, he'd like to see the community brought closer through the Internet, with a community portal allowing citizens to make medical appointments, check bus schedules and find out about community resources .

"Internet can build community," he said.

"If you structure it right, through collaboration, it can really be a community-building tool."

There's lots to learn from other communities, he added.

Earlier at the conference, Strickland and other delegates from Waterloo heard about communities in Sweden where citizens can go online to see what the waiting times are at the local health clinic and hospital emergency room. They heard about Tallinn, Estonia, one of the finalists competing against Waterloo, where citizens vote online, not at ballot boxes, in local and national elections. In Bettendorf, Iowa, students who didn't understand what was said in class, or who were away from school that day, can catch up online, with tutors available until 9:30 p.m. each day.

Another idea was shared on Thursday, at a reception for the top intelligent communities hosted 30 floors above Times Square by the Ontario government, Toronto Hydro and the Canadian Consulate in New York.

New York City Coun. Gale Brewer told the international crowd a story about how the police can make good use of technology normally in the domain of teenagers.

She said her friend's teenage son was recently jumped by four other boys, and he and his mother went to the police station to report the incident. The boy knew a couple of his attackers slightly, and the police gave him a book of mug shot photos to look through, but the victim didn't recognize anyone.

Then he asked if there was a computer in the precinct station, and looked up the assailants easily on Facebook, a communication tool where users often post their photos on their profiles and send messages to one other.

All these ideas are a resource, and Waterloo won't stand still, but will keep improving, Strickland said. "There's so much potential to make our community more wired, more connected, more productive. This has been a real eye-opening experience."

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Headquarters of Canada's telecommunications industry.

Issy-les-Moulineaux, a suburb of Paris

89 per cent of its population uses the Internet daily, compared with a French average of 56 per cent.

Tallinn, Estonia

Started its technological journey by enabling its population to see Scandinavian broadcasts, which led to its embrace of Western values.

Gangnam District of Seoul, South Korea

Has numerous Internet kiosks, where citizens can apply for a building permit, or make a complaint about a restaurant's cleanliness.

Dundee and Sunderland, U.K.

Both applicants built high-tech infrastructures from the ashes of failed industrial economies based on shipbuilding, textiles and mining.


1,045 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Intelligent Community of the Year
Applicable also to the Smart21 and Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year
Awarded to a city, region or community with a documented strategy for creating a Digital Age economy that uses broadband and information technology to attract leading-edge businesses, stimulate job creation, generate economic growth, and improve the delivery of government services. The community must demonstrate that its strategy has produced measurable results in one or more of the following areas:

-Attracting new business to the community or stimulating their formation
-New job creation
-Creating training programs to equip citizens with knowledge-worker skills
-New technology infrastructure investment, whether of “hard” assets, services or software
-Improvements in the delivery of government and public services such as education, administration, law enforcement or citizen participation
-Innovation in business processes and government procedures
-Ensuring access to broadband and IT resources for low-income and at-risk populations

Check out this video of Waterloo:

12,315 Posts
^^ Are the Unis in Waterloo that good? I remember my "host mother" in Canada telling me she wanted her daughter to study there because it was very good. Didn't know how good that was. :D

1,834 Posts
university of waterloo is quite good, internationally known for some select programs. their networking with companies is massive, the biggest of any university in the world.

Proud Torontonian
1,421 Posts
^^ Are the Unis in Waterloo that good? I remember my "host mother" in Canada telling me she wanted her daughter to study there because it was very good. Didn't know how good that was. :D
Waterloo has to have some of the best physics / math / computer courses in the world - evidenced by its MASSIVE Asian population - and Laurier is one of Canada's most esteemed business schools. I'm thinking of going to Laurier for my undergrad.

41,717 Posts
Not a surprise. Waterloo has a very solid foundation on which to build a rich, valued added, technologically savvy society.

One of the best math and science programs in the world at University of Waterloo, a good business school at Laurier, Canadian law, political stability, a highly educated workforce with an industrious captalist mentality, and top notch infrastructure.

There are strongly entrenched relationships between the universities, business, and government. The dialogue is very open and successful. The Waterloo region is booming, but is only in its infancy in regard to what is will accomplish in the future.

It will be Ontario's new dynamo.

1,245 Posts
2007 Country

Dundee, Scotland United Kingdom

Gangnam District, Seoul South Korea

Issy-les-Moulineaux France

Ottawa-Gatineau, Ontario-Quebec Canada

Sunderland, Tyne & Wear United Kingdom

Tallinn Estonia

Waterloo, Ontario Canada

Canada and United kingdom have 2 cities.:applause: :applause: :applause:

1,045 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
-The University of Waterloo operates the largest post secondary school co-op program of its kind in the world with more than 11,000 students enrolled over three semesters.

-The Faculty of Mathematics is the world's largest centre for the mathematical and computer sciences.

-In the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, Waterloo students have won gold medals in 2001, 2002 and 2005: over a 10-year period, Waterloo’s cumulative scores outrank MIT, Berkeley, Harvard and Caltech.

-"Waterloo is a special relationship for us," Bill Gates told CTV News. "Most years, we hire more students out of Waterloo than any university in the world, typically 50 or even more." That figure doesn't include other students who take co-op placements or short-term employment while still at school.

- International Olympiad in Informatics 2010 will be held in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

- Longest Journey by Solar Electric Vehicle: Sun Solar Car Team (University of Waterloo)

-UW's Faculty of Arts, offers the No. 2-ranked clinical psychology program in North America, as well as the largest arts co-operative program.

-UW's Faculty of Science is home to Canada’s only English-language School of Optometry, the country’s largest graduate studies program in earth sciences

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics:

Since research operations began in the fall of 2001, the Institute has grown to include over 60 resident researchers who are involved in day-to-day operations. Additionally, the vigorous Visitor Program has enabled PI to host hundreds of international researchers each year for collaborations and workshops. The current areas of cross-disciplinary research include:

Quantum Foundations
Particle Physics
Quantum Gravity
Quantum Information Theory
Superstring Theory


1,045 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Think-tank to remain in Waterloo
WATERLOO (Jun 9, 2007)

Waterloo will remain the home of a respected international think-tank.

The Academic Council on the United Nations System will remain in the city for a second five-year term, Wilfrid Laurier University announced yesterday.

WLU, partnering with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, also in Waterloo, will continue to host the think-tank.

That decision was made at its annual general meeting in New York.

When the think-tank came to Waterloo five years ago, it was the first time in its 15-year history that it had moved outside the United States, making the relocation a coup for Canada and for WLU.

Patricia Goff, associate professor of political science at Laurier and a senior research fellow at the centre, has been appointed the new executive director of the Academic Council on the United Nations System.

Keeping the think-tank in Waterloo "is timely because of the momentum surrounding global governance studies in the Waterloo area, as well as Laurier's growth in related programs," Goff said in a statement.

The think-tank represents nearly 1,000 international scholars and practitioners who study the workings and effectiveness of the United Nations system. It promotes research, teaching and dialogue.

The think-tank usually moves to a different host university every five years.

3,010 Posts
There should be mention of Waterloo Region's school board, which is known as one of the best (if not the best) in Ontario. That does just as much as the Universities do.

I grew up just north of Waterloo and attended high school there. I went on to OCAD in Toronto; during my 4 years there we had almost 20 grads from my high school get accepted, which is rare and exceptional. Just a small symptom of a much larger picture.
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