Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Calgary one of the world's "smart" cities

Calgary is being touted as the best positioned Canadian urban centre to be considered a “smart” city according to an “internationally recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends.”

In a column for Forbes magazine, Joel Kotkin says that “a ‘smart’ city often refers to a place with a ‘green’ sustainable agenda. Yet this narrow definition of intelligence ignores many other factors - notably upward mobility and economic progress - that have characterized successful cities in the past.”

Kotkin writes that Canada is likely to produce several successful cities that fit this criteria, with Calgary the best positioned for success because in the past two decades “the city's share of corporate headquarters has doubled to 15 per cent, the largest percentage of main offices per capita in Canada.

“Although last year's plunge in oil prices hit hard, rising demand for commodities in Asia should help revive the Albertan economy by next year.”

With “smart” city criteria excluding mega-cities like New York, Mexico City, Tokyo or Sao Paulo because of their extreme congestion, Calgary is compared to other “smaller, compact and more efficient places” like Amsterdam; Seattle; Singapore; Curitiba, Brazil; and Monterrey, Mexico.

Visit Kotkin’s blog here.

Kotkin is a distinguished presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University. He is also an adjunct fellow at the Legatum Institute in London and serves as executive editor of newgeography.com. He writes the weekly New Geographer column for Forbes. He is working on a study on upward mobility in global cities for the London-based Legatum Institute.

What are your thoughts? Does Calgary meet your image of a Smart City?

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