The UK held a Digital Challenge and 79 councils submitted ideas for how technology could take on the issues of social exclusion. Nine finalists received £2m ($3.9m USD) to finance their plans and Sunderland, the winner of the Challenge, received £3.5m ($6.8m USD).
David Wilcox has an excellent report here, including a video interview with some of the Sunderland (City Council?) folk.
Sunderland has been in the top seven Intelligent Communities for the past five years (this is unprecedented). The story of how Sunderland rose from the ruins of the industrial age to be a leader of the information age is fascinating. In 1994, Sunderland was in the bottom 10% of Britain’s “depressed districts.” Then in the period 2002 to 2004, 72% of new jobs in the North England region were in Sunderland even though only 11% of the North population lives there. Stunning!
Sadly, no US cities made the 2007 Intelligent Communities list.
As we move forward with digital inclusion efforts in my home city, Minneapolis, MN USA, I wonder if our name could grace that list in 2008?