10:46 AM

Columbus named 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year

Declaring Columbus a city with “relentless embrace of new ideas,” the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) has named Columbus the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year. The organization, a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st century community, announced the selection at its annual summit in Toronto, Canada.

Columbus was selected first among 400 cities around the world after a year-long evaluation that included a quantitative analysis of extensive data, site inspections and votes from an international jury made up of experts from around the world. Communities are evaluated based on five criteria, including broadband connectivity, knowledge work force, innovation, digital inclusion and marketing and advocacy.

“Ohio State played a key partnership role in the selection for work on broadband access, autonomous vehicles and planes, precision agriculture, health care and data analytics,” said Jennifer Evans-Cowley, professor of city and regional planning in the Knowlton School of Architecture and vice provost for capital planning and regional campuses. Cowley led the Ohio State contribution to Columbus’ nomination. “The key point is to be able to showcase both Ohio State and Battelle as major centers of research that have global impact and our key partnerships with Columbus.”

Cowley said one innovative partnership between the city and Ohio State involves a memorandum of cooperation to advance the interconnectedness of vehicles and infrastructure. Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research works on the autonomous vehicle portion of the project and Columbus works on the infrastructure part, which involves developing roads that can interact with driverless cars.

ICF praised Columbus for programs such as TechColumbus, Connect Ohio, the cultural revitalization of the East Franklinton neighborhood initiatives to make higher education more accessible for low income residents, and for its regional approach to economic development with surrounding communities such as Dublin.

It also noted that Columbus is one of a handful of U.S. cities that has turned a brain drain into a brain gain. It’s been named one of the top 10 Best Cities for New College Grads by BloombergBusiness. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recognized Ohio State with the 2015 Community Engagement Classification, which acknowledges the university for its advanced teaching and learning practices and extensive community engagement. In 2008, Columbus was named the #1 Up and Coming Digital City by Forbes.

Beyond the ties to broadband infrastructure, Ohio State’s partnerships with the city are numerous. New first-year students are officially welcomed and learn about all the city has to offer at the Columbus Welcome Event. Illustrating its land grant heritage, students volunteer and mentor in area schools, and faculty experts work with community leaders and members to respond to challenges.

In announcing the award, the organization described Columbus as a city of sharp contrasts where the rebirth of the American Midwest was in full view for the world to see.

For Columbus and Mayor Michael Coleman, the award was a culmination of work that has been under way for nearly 15 years. Columbus had reached the finals of the ICF’s awards program three times before.