The Finnish city of Espoo has been named as the 2018 Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Community Forum at a global summit held in London.
The city adopted a holistic approach to humanizing every aspect of its technology and that resonated with those tasked with the responsibility of judging cities all over Europe.
Espoo becomes the first Scandinavian city to be named as the Intelligent Community of the Year since Stockholm won the award in 2009, and is the first European Intelligent Community of the Year since Eindhoven, Netherlands in 2011. Last year's winner was Melbourne.
The co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum Lou Zacharilla heaped praise upon Espoo and claimed that the city was a hidden gem in Europe.
He said, "It is very unusual for a community to be named Intelligent Community of the Year the first time they enter our program. ICF is about process improvement over time. But Espoo's holistic philosophy of humanizing every aspect of its technology and teaching innovation as a way of life was extremely impressive."
He added, "Espoo's citizen engagement rates are extremely high, which democracies need, and its economic output speaks for itself. The city is a hidden gem in Finland. Now they have been 'found out!'"
Espoo was selected as the 2018 Intelligent Community of the Year after a year-long evaluation that included a quantitative analysis of extensive data, site inspections by the ICF and votes from an international jury made up of experts from around the world.
Communities in the Awards program are evaluated based on six Intelligent Community Indicators - broadband, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability and advocacy - and in the context of ICF's annual theme, which this year is 'humanizing data'.
The City of Espoo is developing its services in cooperation with residents, companies, educational institutions, universities, communities and other cities. Espoo Innovation Garden is the largest innovation community in the Nordic countries. Internationally, it is a highly competitive platform.
"By cooperating with our innovation networks, we will ensure high-quality services for our residents and guarantee that our growth is economically, ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable also in the future," says Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor of Espoo.