Thinking about the prospects and projects for 2014, several development themes seem likely to be woven into the complex economic and community development fabric.
One of our great insights from last year came from the CIO of the City of Chattanooga in Eastern Tennessee as he explained his rationale for investment – a process that resisted the technology-driven desires and preferences of the IT industry and focused ruthlessly on the real objectives of his municipal client departments.
This, in the USA’s first ‘GigabitCity’ where connectivity and capacity is not an issue, reflected a determination to deliver real benefits to the City’s administration (and consequently its citizens and tax-payers) without wasting the rich resources available. And in the Mayor’s office we found two of them – the City Mayor and the Mayor for the surrounding County. Their mutual understanding of the interdependent role of the City and its hinterland added a fresh dimension to discussions of ‘Smart Cities’ that are so often reduced to Urban versus Rural contentions.
Immediately after visiting Chattanooga we spent time in New York with the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) and, once again, their perspective on the challenges faced by communities around the world provided a new way of thinking about the priorities we give to economic development.
In The Fabric of Our Futures (PDF) we summarise some of the more obvious themes that will arise in 2014 and, hopefully, will inform projects and prospects for future Study Tours, the UK’s Next Generation Digital Challenge Awards and the platforms we organise for innovators and community leaders.
The full text is also available here.