SURREY is in competition to be named the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year after being selected as one of the Top 7 finalists by New York-based think tank the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).
As part of the final round of evaluations, a two-day site visit from ICF co-founder Robert Bell commenced Thursday at Surrey City Hall. In his keynote address, Bell shared his global perspective on how communities use digital technologies to build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures.
“The fact that Surrey has made it to the final round of the Top 7 Cities is a validation that what we are doing is making a positive difference in the people who live and work in our City,” said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. “Whether it’s in our efforts to bring about the best and most advanced ideas or how we can better engage and interact with our citizens, what we have in Surrey is a phenomenal group of people working together to shape a positive vision of the future for our City.
During the site visit the Surrey community will showcase initiatives and partnership highlighted in the application process including:
* Innovation Boulevard, an agile partnership of health, business, higher education and government which is creating new health technologies to improve peoples’ lives in the areas of medical devices, independent living and digital health.
* SFU Surrey programming and labs focused on mechatronics engineering, arts and technology and entrepreneurship.
* Partnership-driven early childhood development initiatives including progress made since Surrey’s participated in the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge.
* Citywide Wi-Fi service in partnership with Shaw Communications Inc. which will be offered free at more than 40 key locations throughout the city, including recreation centres, and a number of parks, civic buildings and public spaces
* The City’s state-of-the-art Traffic Management Centre, which began operating in the fall of 2014; this Centre allows adjustments of traffic signals based on real-time traffic flow. It is the most advanced municipal centre of its kind in BC. This centralized control system controls 320 traffic signals and 16 coordinated corridors.
“Investing in technology and innovation has been a key priority for council as we prepare our City for the growth and the challenges of the future,” said Councillor Bruce Hayne, Chair of the Investment and Innovation Committee. “For us to be in the running for the top spot is a result of our ability to have meaningful partnerships and collaboration.”
Out of more than 300 nominations, Surrey is the lone Canadian city in the Top 7 list and is now in contention for the prestigious designation of ‘Intelligent Community of the Year.’ The other six cities and towns on the list include three communities from the United States, and one each from Taiwan, Australia and Brazil.
One community will be chosen in June to succeed last year’s winner, Toronto, as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year.