The spotlight at last week's Intelligent Community Summit was on Toronto – but in this case for the example it has set on how to flourish in the new economy -- not its embattled mayor. After two times in the finals, Toronto was named 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year – the first Canadian city since 2007 when Waterloo, also in Ontario, won.
Lou Zacharilla, co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum think tank that sponsors the summit and annual award, suggested that Canada's largest city proved that in a democracy an intelligent community can move forward despite challenges to the quality of its leadership and its image.
"Toronto was selected," he said, "because it performed impressively against a set of diverse criteria and focused its academic, creative and private sectors, as well as its city council leadership on the work and continued success of the entire community."
Toronto has a "Prosperity Agenda" – described as a call to action for renewed investment in the city and cooperation among industry, labor, educators and government to enhance competitiveness and stimulate sustained economic growth.
One example is Waterfront Toronto, a massive urban renewal project that is revitalizing 800 hectares of brownfield shoreline on the city's harbor with residential, parks and commercial spaces.
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