22/10/2014 12:00:00 a.m.
22 October 2014
Mayor Annette Main has welcomed the announcement that Whanganui has been named one of the world’s Smart21 Intelligent Communities for 2015.
The Smart21 list, organised by the Intelligent Community Forum, recognises communities around the world which have taken steps to prosper in the broadband economy.
Mayor Main, who chairs the Whanganui Digital Leaders Forum, says the news “should kick any zombie town references to touch”.
“This is the third year running that we have made the Smart21 list and we are the only community in New Zealand ever to have been included,” Mayor Main said.
“We are leading the way not only nationally but globally. Only 134 communities have ever earned this designation and this year more than 300 communities submitted nominations so it is a real testament to what our district is already achieving and can achieve in the future.
“Our goal now is to make it into the Top7 for 2015. Our selection again this year reflects the progress we are continuing to make toward Intelligent Community status.”
Lou Zacharilla, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, said Whanganui had achieved “a huge milestone”.
“The Smart21 designation places you among the elite of the world’s communities,” Mr Zacharilla said.
“This designation reflects a community wide campaign to use internet broadband services in ways that have improved our economic, social and cultural opportunities,” Mayor Main said.
“Being a Smart21 community will also help us to gain a higher global profile and be more attractive to companies searching for a place to invest.”
The Smart21 Communities of 2015 will next provide more detailed data through an extensive questionnaire, which is evaluated by an independent research firm. The seven highest-scoring cities or regions will then be named the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year, on January 22 in Taichung City, Taiwan, the 2013 Intelligent Community of the Year. In June 2015, at an event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada (the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year), one community will be chosen as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year.