SAINT JOHN –– Saint John is the intelligent choice.
The city has been designated one of the world’s Smart21 high tech hot spots by the Intelligent Community Forum, an international-based organization dedicated to economic and social development in the broadband economy.
Saint John’s application highlights the early world-leading work done in the city by NBTel developers and its Living Lab and the influence it had on the development of the city’s contemporary broadband culture.
“Saint John is where it all begins in terms of broadband development in our region,” said Mayor Ivan Court.
“Those technological innovations have influenced the way we do business and live in Saint John and the impact has been felt throughout our community, from the ICT companies now established in our Uptown to community groups, such as the Around the Block newspaper in Crescent Valley, using it to spread the word about local happenings.”
The application highlighted the city’s modern development including the contributions of Enterprise Saint John’s innovative True Growth approach to multi-sector development, UNB Saint John in the creation of a knowledge workforce, PropelICT’s mentorship of entrepreneurs, BCAPI’s commitment to social innovations and Uptown Saint John’s campaign to encourage people to live life Uptown.
According to the most recent census statistics, Saint John has the highest median income in New Brunswick and increasingly those earnings belong to university and community college-educated citizens. Between 1991 and 2006, the number of university-educated residents rose by 40 per cent; 24 per cent more Saint Johners hold community college diplomas.
“The ICT sector has played a central role in the evolution of Saint John and it is a story we can all be proud of, one that is seeing the industrial city transformed from within,” said Steve Carson, Enterprise Saint John CEO.
“Through True Growth we strive to create an environment for prosperity in Saint John by inspiring and supporting people, ideas and investment. The success of that approach is reflected in the restoration of heritage buildings for our IT campus in the Uptown and supporting innovation in health and life sciences and the advanced manufacturing sectors.”
The south end peninsula is an example of how the city is changing. In 2000, the City of Saint John developed a Heritage Action Plan to encourage the redevelopment of the Uptown core, home to the majority of Saint John's architectural heritage. Since then, over $50 million has been invested in heritage properties, including along Prince William Street, the first cityscape to be designated a Canadian historic site. The rehabilitation of heritage properties accounts for about 50 per cent of construction permits in the city.
Today the south end peninsula is the most densely populated mixed-use neighbourhood in the Maritimes. The area contains close to 1,300 businesses, the largest percentage from the ICT sector, and 18,000 residents, creating a truly urban campus along Saint John's waterfront - housing, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, design firms, lawyers, accountants and knowledge workers all within walking distance of each other. Ideas are born and deals brokered by simply crossing the street. Business, innovation and life seemlessly integrated into a community network that in less than a decade produced true growth.
Becoming a Smart21 community is the first step in Saint John’s bid to become one of the Top Seven Intelligent Communities for 2012. That announcement will take place in early 2012.