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One smart city

Winnipeg named one of seven most intelligent places in the world

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View of downtown Winnipeg through trees covered in  hoar frost on Garbage Hill Thursday morning.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

View of downtown Winnipeg through trees covered in hoar frost on Garbage Hill Thursday morning. Photo Store

We're one intelligent city.

Winnipeg has made it onto the prestigious short list of the top seven intelligent communities in the world as determined by the Intelligent Communities Forum.

The recognition is the second stage of the ICF awards cycle. Winnipeg was included in the Smart 21 cities in October.

It's the first time Winnipeg has made it to the top seven, having been named to the top 21 four years in a row.

Marina James, the CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg, which produced the submission, said it's a satisfying achievement.

"We all really wanted to make sure we made it into the top seven to reflect the amazing culture in Winnipeg," she said.

The ICF said each community makes it onto the list by demonstrating how they have begun to fuse technology, culture and collaboration for economic sustainability.

The ICF's theme for the program this year was Community as Canvas looking at three aspects of culture: as art and craftwork with both economic and social value, as heritage that gives a place its identity, and as attitudes arising from that heritage that determine how people react to change.

"Winnipeg has a lot of first and 'only's' going on," James said.

"Every time we can tell those stories and paint a picture in a different light, these are all terrific things for Winnipeg."

The awards program salutes the accomplishments of communities in developing inclusive prosperity built on a foundation of information and communications technology.

The ICF described Winnipeg's achievements this way: "The reinvention of its agricultural legacy is creating strong growth while preserving a valued heritage."

The judging panel highlighted how the city's aboriginal communities embrace their cultural tradition of storytelling taking modern-day form with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and the Digital Voices Project at Sisler High School; how the Composites Innovation Centre has developed high-performance composites based on agricultural materials like hemp and flax, which reduces costs for employers such as Boeing and Magellan Aerospace; and how Winnipeg's thriving arts and culture scene inspired an independent film from two Winnipeggers (James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot) called Indie Game: The Movie, which went on to win awards at the Sundance Film Festival and was a New York Times Critic's Pick.

The other seven intelligent cities are: Arlington County, Va.; Columbus, Ohio; Hsinchu City, Taiwan; Kingston, Ont.; New Taipei City, Taiwan and Toronto.

The Intelligent Community of the Year will be selected from among the seven and announced in June 2014.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2014 B1

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Updated on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:12 AM CST: Replaces photo

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