Toronto wins some smart city award or other

Lists and awards for cities are absolutely everywhere these days and the Smart City concept is no exception. More often than not, there are all kinds of bullshit and hidden (or completely bogus) methodologies and criteria involved, some of which make the process of awarding of the FIFA World Cup look almost accountable and transparent by comparison.

Toronto Waterfront
Toronto Waterfront

Anyway, this is all a prelude to noting that Toronto has been named the ‘Intelligent Community of the Year’ by the Intelligent Community Forum (one of a proliferation of similarly-named think-tanks and boosters). The basis for the award is not, surprisingly, the smart qualities of the current (rehabbing) Mayor, Rob Ford, but the widely criticised and apparently never-ending Waterfront district development. It may be soul-less and have zero concern for genuine inclusivity, good urban design and sustainability but, hey, it’s got great broadband:

“The district is building infrastructure that will provide 12,000 new residences with 100 Mbps broadband to individual homes, and 10 Gbps networking to businesses. The sponsors say they have already tested 400 Gbps speeds, with the goal of providing design and media companies in Toronto with the highest transmission rates in the world.”

This really doesn’t give me much confidence in the concept of ‘intelligence’ or ‘smartness’ that is embodied in such awards and assessments, however it does help to confirm that Toronto will be the Canadian case-study for my new research project on smart cities.


Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

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