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Whanganui named Smart21 Community of 2020

4 November 2019

Whanganui was named a Smart21 Community of 2020 by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a New York-based think tank.

Twenty-one communities from ten countries were selected. These communities were identified by the ICF as the “global communities deemed most ready for the 21st century” out of 180 membership cities.

The Smart21 Communities are selected based on quantitative and qualitative data, evaluated against a framework that looks at initiatives around broadband, the knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy.

Whanganui was first named a Smart21 Community in 2013 and has been on the list six times. Two New Zealand cities were named for the first time this year, with Wellington also included.

Whanganui & Partners’ Strategic Lead - Capability and International, Hannah Kelly, said the designation reflects the value Whanganui’s leaders have put on developing a city prepared for the future.

“We were an early adopter of high speed broadband and saw the benefits of that,” Kelly said. “For instance, the IT company Proaxiom chose to move their headquarters here from Wellington in 2015, in large part because of our advantages around broadband.”

“Initiatives like the Resource Recovery Centre gave us an edge in the sustainability category too, which the recent Most Beautiful City Award also highlighted.”

“We want our community to be prepared for the challenges as well as the opportunities of the next fifty years,” she said. “The Smart21 designation is a good indicator that we’re on the right track.”

Seven of the Smart21 Communities will be named the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2020 on February 10 in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

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