For the first time in five years, the award is back in North America, in fact, it’s the first time in 10 years a United States community has won. I guess you can say, it’s California Dreamin’.
“I take immense pride in accepting the award for Most Intelligent City in the World because it honors Riverside’s excellence in so many of the key markers of success in the 21st century, including: high technology, workforce development, digital inclusion, arts, innovation, collaboration and social capital,” said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge. [WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW]
The city has appeared among the Top Seven Intelligent Communities for two years in a row, but this time, it made the top spot.
The goal of the award is to honor communities that have overcome challenges to set a global standard for the use of information and communications technology in order to build and sustain local success.
Well, Riverside has gone above and beyond that goal.
In 2004, the mayor and a community college dean began a High Tech Taskforce to figure out how to channel some of California’s high tech-growth into their own community. What resulted was the Riverside Technology CEO Forum and SmartRiverside.
The city built a fiber network to connect its operations. A free Wi-Fi network now offers up to 1 Mbps service through 1,600 access points. There are also e-government applications such as traffic management, and graffiti tracking and removal.
The city also worked to double the number of people completing college through College 311. It’s also collaborated with private technology executive officers to promote tech initiatives.
The technology train didn’t end there. In 2006, Riverside started a digital inclusion program, using free Wi-Fi, to provide tech training, free computers and software to all of the city’s low-income families through Project Bridge.
ICF Co-founder Louis Zacharilla said Riverside is “an example of yet another community many left for dead, but which has fought all the way back, using its collective will power and intelligence to prove, once again, that there is a great revival taking place among the world’s cities, towns and regions.”
“We have been tested and assessed as world leaders and we are delighted to work with the ICF on spreading innovation throughout the global community,“ said Loveridge.
Riverside has evolved from being known as a bedroom community, or a university town, or an agricultural center and warehouse hub 60 miles from Los Angeles—it has proven it can be known as the “city of tomorrow” as it continues to use broadband communications and other technologies to build for its future.