Greater Taichung was on Friday named the Intelligent Community of the Year for this year by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).
The US-based ICF promotes the development of so-called “intelligent communities” around the world, which includes the efficient use of information and communications technology.
It said Taichung, boasting a sound infrastructure, represented a good combination of technology and cultural development.
“The rise of Taichung over the past decade has been a well-planned, unwavering act of collaborative team-building under the vision of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強),” ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla said in a statement.
“Mayor Hu was determined to put Taichung in the same league as the world’s great cities, both economically and culturally,” Zacharilla said.
In January, the ICF announced the top seven intelligent communities in the world.
In addition to Taichung, Taoyuan County, the US’ Columbus, Finland’s Oulu, Canada’s Stratford and Toronto and Estonia’s Tallinn made the top seven.
The forum announced on Friday that the top prize went to Taichung and presented the award to the city’s delegation at an annual awards ceremony held at Steiner Film Studios in New York.
Last year, Riverside in California won the title of Intelligent Community of the Year.
Greater Taichung Government Deputy Secretary-General Liao Ching-chih (廖靜芝), said she was surprised by the ICF’s decision since she had thought that other cities in the top seven list were very competitive.
Liao said that until Taichung took the top prize in the international event, she had not been aware that the city was so well-developed and had made such a globally recognized achievement.
According to the ICF, Taichung was selected after a year-long evaluation, including quantitative analysis of extensive data on the community, site inspections by the forum’s co-founders and votes by an expert international jury.
The ICF said a relatively low jobless rate of 4.4 percent and annual economic output of US$30 billion are part of Taichung’s success.
“This city understands that a great place to live is not one that only dominates world export markets in areas such as precision manufacturing, machinery and silicon wafer production, but goes to the next level and becomes a great cultural center,” Zacharilla said.
Liao said some judges had told her that they were impressed by Taichung’s ability to integrate technology and culture, which made technological advancement not just an impersonal development, but a driver for a higher living standard.