Taiwan cities named ICF Smart21 communities

Five Taiwan cities and counties were named Oct. 21 among the Smart21 Communities vying for 2016 Intelligent Community of the Year honors awarded by New York City-based Intelligent Community Forum.

Kaohsiung, New Taipei and Taoyuan Cities, as well as Hsinchu and Taitung Counties, will take on 16 contenders from Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the US for the title. A total of 11 of this year’s finalists are newcomers to the global event, including Taiwan’s largest port city Kaohsiung.

ICF Director of Operations Matthew Owen said the “communities were selected on their merits in the areas of advocacy, broadband services, innovation, digital equality, knowledge workforce and sustainability.”

According to Owen, the competition is themed From Revolution to Renaissance and focuses on how intelligent communities plan their futures while coping with changes in local economy, environment and patterns of urban and rural life.

Among the 21 nominees, New Taipei City boasts the largest population of 3.9 million. Last year, the northern Taiwan metropolis was the only Asian community advancing to top seven in the second round. This marks the third consecutive year for NTC to be considered for the honor.

Lauded by ICF in 2015 for its broadband infrastructure construction and knowledge-based economy, New Taipei also came out on top in a recent Asia Pacific Smart City Evolution Index competition launched by international market research firm IDC. It was voted No. 1 in the category of public safety for its citywide tech security program.

Taitung and Taoyuan were also nominated by ICF last year. The former was praised for its robust agritourism sector, and the latter for balancing the requirements of industrial development with the living environment.

In addition, Hsinchu—the information and communications industry hub of Taiwan—was nominated by ICF in 2013 and 2014 for translating economic success into high quality of life.

The seven-member shortlist is set for release in February 2016, with the top prize scheduled for a June unveiling in last year’s winning city Columbus, Ohio.

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