On June 8, 2012, the Intelligence Community Forum (ICF) named Riverside as the Intelligent Community of 2012 at Steiner Film Studios in Brooklyn, New York. Riverside is the first city in the U.S. to receive the award in over 10 years, in recognition of its thriving sector of technology. “You are an example of yet another community many left for dead, but which has fought all the way back, using its collective willpower and intelligence to prove, once again, that there is a great revival taking place among the world’s cities, towns and regions,” remarked ICF Co-founder Louis Zacharilla as he congratulated the new Intelligent Community of 2012.
Located in New York, the ICF specializes in conducting studies around economic and social development in 21st century communities. One of ICF’s missions is to share the knowledge of emerging intelligent communities through research, event hosting and book publishing. The ICF recognized the city of Riverside for its progressive improvements in the field of education and an established high-tech task force.
Maintained by the Parks, Recreation and Community Development Department of the City of Riverside, Project Bridge is a local program that provides recycled IT equipment to over 1,500 low-income families. Through these efforts, community members of Riverside have partaken in the donation of outdated technological equipment, such as computers and gadgets, to disadvantaged families. These donations have provided others with the means of communication and academia through the use of free educational software.
Recycled systems are refurbished by reformed gang members through Project Bridge, in an effort to provide disadvantaged families with innovative technology.This was notably made possible through the donations of computers and technical training in assisting new computer users. High-tech growth in the city has allowed access to public Wi-Fi and to online resources such as graffiti tracking and removing, along with traffic management.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 13.4% of Riverside residents live below the poverty line, and are therefore more likely to come from poorly educated environments. Despite the various high learning institutions encompassing the Inland Empire, Riverside has been unable to keep its 55,000 graduates to reside in the city, as stated by the Intelligence Community Forum.
In an effort to further improve education in Riverside, the city has partnered with College 311 to double the number of Riverside youth attending college. College 311 is a web-based hub that offers education, social, and community services, in support of those pursuing a college education.
Riverside’s international recognition as the Intelligent Community of the year will further bolster its stature as a leading city for social and economic development and position the city as an example for evolving global communities.