Can Surrey be the model city of the 21st century?

Dec 2 • Articles, EDMONTON, Métacité • 2158 Views • No Comments on Can Surrey be the model city of the 21st century?

Surrey, Edmonton and Sherbrooke are the three Canadian cities on the Intelligent Community Forum’s Smart21 Communities of 2015. They’re all creating a pattern of development based on broadband, with a skilled workforce and engaging in new technology. In each city, industries are working with universities to create prosperity, liveable neighbourhoods and solve social problems. The Intelligent Community of 2015 will be decided at the ICF Summit in Toronto, which takes place June 9-11, 2015.


Surrey: to live and make a living

For years, Surrey was a dependent suburb of Vancouver, with an economy focused on residential construction. It wants to develop its own economy and dictate its own economic future regardless of how the economy of Vancouver is going.


Surrey knows that being a 20th century suburb built for the car is not a sustainable future. The plan is to create six economic nodes in the city with walkable, mixed-use development.


Surrey wants people to live and make a living in Surrey.

The goal is to have one job for every resident.

Currently they have 0.7 jobs for every resident.


 Edmonton: More than oil

Rather than relying largely on the oil industry, Edmonton wants to diversify its economy. One of the ways they plan to do this is to harness the intellectual capacity of local universities and colleges. One out of every eight Edmonton residents is a college or university student.


100,000 college and university students

in Edmonton’s population of 800,000


TEC Edmonton, a business accelerator that offers expertise, resources and connections, claims to have raised $160 million in funding for local companies since 2011. According to TEC, those companies have generated $310 million in revenue and created 1800 new jobs in 4 years.


Edmonton’s goal:

To become a leader

in economic growth

regardless of

the price of oil.


Sherbrooke: becoming a small tech hub

After decades of success as an industrial town, Sherbrooke has been in decline since the 1970s because of globalization. Now it wants to convert to a knowledge-based economy, by focusing on innovative new companies in clean tech, advanced manufacturing, IT, microelectronics, nanomaterials and life sciences.


The city commissioned a study that concluded that its local small businesses are low-level users of online tools. Sherbrooke wants to change that; they have launched a number of initiatives aimed at increasing the penetration of electronic commerce and recently Bell carried out a 34M$ expansion to their fibre optic network in the city.


Sherbrooke: Population of 160,000

Over 100 very diverse IT companies


employing 1600+ highly qualified workers,

with substantial research base in micro-electronics


The city collaborated with the Université de Sherbrooke to create the  3IT, an interdisciplinary institute which brings together researchers from the arts, life sciences, electronics, ethics, robotics, etc.


Robert Bell co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum:

“Sherbrooke knows it has a long road ahead of them, but it is an example of a

place that is implementing strategies that other places can look at and use.”


Why Toronto is hosting the 2015 Intelligent Community Forum Summit

Toronto is the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year as chosen by the Intelligent Community Forum’s annual awards program. The successor will be announced at the 2015 Summit. Robert Bell Intelligent Community co-founder states: “The choice of Toronto for the ICF Summit was obvious. It has universities and colleges that aggressively encourage entrepreneurship, incubators and accelerators. Waterfront Toronto is a project wants to be a transformative centre for Toronto. Beanfield Metroconnect is building an ultra-high-speed, ultra-broadband fibre-optic network that will deliver the fastest and most economical high-speed Internet service Toronto. The service will be free for the 20% of low-income residents in the community. They want to make this the single most important place to be in the city.”

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