Job growth in the U.S. is still sluggish. The Associated Press has reported, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, that unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states in July, and that fewer states added jobs in the most recent month reported.

Lou Zacharilla, co-founder of the New-York-based Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) and co-author of a new book titled “Seizing Our Destiny: 2012’s Best Communities to Live, Work, Grow and Prosper In — and How They Got That Way,” has issued a list of five ways to help boost U.S. job creation.

“Based on our study of 119 Intelligent Communities around the world since 2001, we know that successful ICF cities and towns follow five key criteria to build opportunity for their citizens. Any struggling American town or city can, on its own, emulate these to stimulate job and wealth creation while creating safer, more creative environments,” says Zacharilla.

Here is the list:
Expand broadband connectivity
Train and retain a knowledge-based workforce

Insist on digital inclusion
Support creativity and innovation

Inspire marketing and advocacy

How can communities stimulate job creation? Zacharilla told GPN: “The best advice for local government administrators is to develop a group of ‘champions’ who understand what is at stake and what the opportunities are for the community in going to the next level. The champions should represent a diverse range of community people, but should ideally include representatives from local government, the academic or educational sector and the private sector. The champions should concentrate on a few ‘small’ wins and have a large, community goal set in place. Typically the goal is to reach ICF's list of Smart21 within 2-3 years.

Zacharilla said having a large community goal “brings more people to the table, as economic development and others sectors take an interest.” He says that the community’s group “then follows the ICF five-core criteria, learns from others around the world and begins to collaborate toward success. Even in the worst cases, the ball is advanced.”

The ICF’s core criteria for communities are: broadband infrastructure, a trained knowledge-based workforce, programs demonstrating digital inclusion, support for innovation, and advocacy and marketing.

GPN asked Zacharilla about the importance of having a low tax rate in successfully developing intelligent communities. “A low tax rate is not as important as having a high growth rate,” said Zacharilla. “It depends on what the taxing regime is and how it is applied to the development of key infrastructure. Stockholm, Sweden and Dublin, Ohio, two very different places, and both ICF Intelligent Communities, used taxing as a means of enabling growth.”

Generally, said Zacharilla, “businesses like low tax environments. However, startup companies and creative companies, whose stock and trade is innovation, also like a quality education environment, good political climates and the ability to have the type of density that facilitates innovation.”

The ICF studies and promotes the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology.

This video highlights the ICF's selection of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of 2013.