The list, which was compiled by the Intelligent Community Forum, ranked communities on technology and knowledge
SARNIA, Ont. — Lethbridge has been included on an international list of communities called the Smart 21, which identifies them based on technology and knowledge indicators.
“It’s encouraging that the Intelligent Community Forum has already taken notice of the work we’re doing in Lethbridge on the Intelligent Community initiative,” Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman said.
“This announcement is a clear indication that we’re building significant momentum.”
Sarnia-Lambton in Ontario, also with strong agricultural connections is also on the list selected by the Intelligent Community Forum in October.
Lethbridge has a population of 95,000. It finalized its development initiative road map this year with a focus on open access to municipal data, the establishment of a connectivity working group and a community-based awareness campaign.
“Certainly agriculture is one of our foundation industries in southern Alberta. It’s 20 percent of our GDP in this area,” Jaylene Ulmer of Economic Development Lethbridge said.
Ulmer said the city is home to an agriculture research centre, a university and college hosting agricultural studies and innovative companies like BlackBridge, a satellite imagery company.
BlackBridge supports the farm community in its effort to maximize the efficiency of crop inputs and limit negative environmental impacts.
Close to 400 communities were judged on six different indicators for the international recognition: broadband access, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy. The organization used to place greater emphasis on information technology but has since broadened its focus.
George Mallay, general manager of Sarnia-Lambton Economic Development, said he isn’t surprised his community of 128,000 was selected.
Sarnia-Lambton, which includes the City of Sarnia and Lambton County, is emphasizes information technology and draws on the strength of its underlying agricultural and process technology sectors, he said.
“I think we are doing a lot of good things in this community and agriculture fits into it. One of the things we’re trying to do here is build a hybrid chemistry complex with agriculture as its basis.”
The region is known for the Sarnia Chemical Valley with its traditional focus on fossil fuels. In recent years, agriculture has also been supplying feed stocks for the production of energy and chemicals.
The final seven ICF communities are expected be chosen early next year and the top community announced in June.
Mallay said there’s no prize money, but being part of the process provides a venue for community leaders to networks and find news ways to improve their communities.
The ICF is a non-profit think-tank. Membership is limited to communities that have been recognized.
- Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
- Brabantse Kempen Region, the Netherlands
- Hamilton, Ontario
- Hsinchu County, Taiwan
- Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
- Jönköping, Sweden
- Kaohsiung, Taiwan
- Lambton County, Ontario
- Marlborough, Massachusetts
- Montreal, Quebec
- Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany
- New Taipei City, Taiwan
- Oshawa, Ontario
- San Diego, California
- Surrey, B.C.
- Taitung County, Taiwan
- Taoyuan, Taiwan
- Whanganui, New Zealand