Durham Region named one of world’s top seven ‘Smart Communities’ for third straight year

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Published July 4, 2024 at 1:08 pm

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Image by Roland Berger

Smart, we are in Durham Region. So says the Intelligent Forum (ICF), a global network of cities and regions with a think tank at its centre and technology at its heart.

The Region is so smart, in fact, that it is the third consecutive year it has placed among the world’s seven most intelligent communities and fourth straight year named as one of the ICF’s top 21 intelligent communities.

Durham Region was joined by Fredericton, New Brunswick (making its fourth appearance on the list); Coral Gables, Florida and Hilliard, Ohio in the USA; Assai and Curitiba (both in Parana State) in Brazil; and Yunlin County in Taiwan.

One of the finalists will be named the Intelligent Community of the Year this fall at the ICF Summit in Barcelona, Spain.

“Connectivity, sustainability and innovation are at the core of the work we do in Durham Region,” said Regional Chair John Henry. “By honouring these principles we are able to offer resident-centric solutions to everyday challenges and improve the quality of life for our communities while preparing for continuous growth.”

The ICF evaluates communities based on criteria including broadband deployment and use, workforce development, innovation, digital inclusion and advocacy. Durham Region’s commitment to these principles through a variety of projects and public services has cemented its place as a top intelligent community, noted CAO Elaine Baxter-Trahair.

“Durham Region is vibrant, diverse and one of the fastest growing communities in Canada,” Baxter-Trahair said. “We continue to focus on creative, forward-thinking solutions while integrating sustainability in the work we do. I applaud the hard-working team of public servants at the Region who remain dedicated to innovative projects that improve the service we provide to our community.”

The ICF evaluates communities based on criteria including broadband deployment and use, workforce development, innovation, digital inclusion and advocacy. Durham Region’s commitment to these principles through a variety of projects and public services has cemented its place as a top intelligent community, noted CAO Elaine Baxter-Trahair.

“Durham Region is vibrant, diverse and one of the fastest growing communities in Canada,” Baxter-Trahair said. “We continue to focus on creative, forward-thinking solutions while integrating sustainability in the work we do. I applaud the hard-working team of public servants at the Region who remain dedicated to innovative projects that improve the service we provide to our community.”

Through its Intelligent Communities Plan, Durham puts digital transformation, sustainability and support for small businesses and entrepreneurs at the forefront with innovative initiatives such as Durham OneNet, Your Durham and the myDurham311 online portal. The Durham Greener Homes and Durham Greener Buildings programs also support the Region’s long-term sustainability goals, along with collaborative initiatives to connect businesses directly to customers, like the Downtowns of Durham.

“We are constantly working to improve here in the Region, introducing new projects that reflect our Regional priorities and long-term goals,” said Alison Burgess, Durham’s Communications Director. “With initiatives like the myDurham 311 online portal we are better able to track and understand service requests from our community that will ultimately help us serve our residents better.”

From the ICF website:

Durham Region makes its third consecutive appearance as a Top7 Intelligent Community in 2024. This regional municipality provides shared services and program coordination to eight local governments in Ontario, Canada – a diverse group with economic sectors ranging from agriculture to automotive manufacturing and clean energy. It has completed the first phase of a 700-kilometer fibre network targeting underserved rural areas. A regional program is helping hundreds of low-income families every year access Canada’s financial assistance programs for post-secondary education. Senior citizen centres provide low-cost tech training to thousands of older residents. In March, it made headlines with the successful delivery of the third generation of the CityROVER A.I. system, which was developed by Visual Defence in collaboration with Durham Region and the Ontario government. Durham’s use of CityROVER A.I. for pothole detection is just one of the many examples of its Intelligent Community practices.

Visit durham.ca/IntelligentCommunities for more information on current initiatives in the Region. To learn more about ICF and the 2024 Smart Communities awards, visit IntelligentCommunity.org.

 

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