Robert Bell, founder of the Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF), visited Ohio's state capital this week to see for himself whether Columbus deserves to be named the ICF's most intelligent city of 2013. According to NBC News, Bell revealed that more than 400 cities competed for the designation. Columbus is the only U.S. city to be named in this year's top seven.
While in Columbus for a three-day stint, Bell investigated the claims made by the city in its entry relative to technology and education. Among the facilities on his itinerary were Ohio State University, the Columbus Metropolitan Library and innovation incubator TechColumbus.
"Is what's taught in your universities and your technical schools informed by the needs of business? Is government at the table trying to shape the outcomes for the good of all the citizens not just the top-tier citizens?," Bell asked, explaining some of the evaluation criteria to NBC. "Columbus has those things in abundance. While I've been here I've heard two words over and over again, you want to be open and want to be smart, and those are great advantages in the 21st century," Bell added.
Other contenders for the award are Taoyuan County and Taichung City, Taiwan; Tallinn, Estonia; Oulu, Finland; and Stratford and Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Honorees will have to wait until June to find out who the ICF names as the most intelligent city in the world -- a decision made by a global panel of academic leaders and private sector representatives.
Columbus, Ohio, photo from Shutterstock