What makes a city smart? Technology and sustainability. But instead of looking at only two aspects, the true sustainability of a city must be analyzed across nine dimensions: technology, employment, transportation, human capital, economy, governance, urban planning, environment, and international outreach.
A totally smart city is one that has a goal to improve the quality of life of its citizens, ensuring economic and social sustainability. On a whole just “technology” won’t make a city smart, but when it comes to attraction talents and companies, people matter a lot more.
According to the 7th edition of the IESE Cities in Motion index 2020 London has been declared the smartest city in the world. New York and Paris take the second and third spots, respectively. Viewers bring up the data for each city, and two cities are compared at the same time.
The top 15 smartest cities in the world
London ranks first for human capital and international outreach and is in the top ten for transportation and mobility. It holds startups and programmers than any other city in the world. The British capital is an epicenter of culture creativity, finance, and business. The world-class universities and professional opportunities make the best and popular choice for students worldwide. It has continually done well on the annual index and is ranking 1st since 2017.
2. New York
New York tops for its economy, urban planning, mobility, and transportation. It has around 500 companies globally for which it comes in the 4th position. It is the world’s most important economic center and home to almost 7000 high tech firms.
However, its social cohesion holds the 137th position and needs much to be desired. According to the 2018-19 city government rankings, New York comes 3rd in vision, leadership, and budget. A pilot program was also launched by the city that placed smart sensors and a wide area network throughout business districts.
Paris is an important financial hub in Europe. It holds 8th position in the economy, 6th in human capital, 3rd in international outreach, and 4th in mobility and transportation. The city of light promotes the use of bicycles and electric vehicles which is a means of clean transport.
The open innovation gives its inhabitants access to city data flows. It is one of the main tourist destinations worldwide. The Grand Paris express project is the biggest service of transport in Europe which will redesign the transport network by adding four additional metro lines, new rail lines of 200 km, and 68 new interconnected stations.
The world’s second-most densely populated city with 8000 people per square kilometre. The government is focusing on digital advancements to raise productivity. A dynamic 3d city model and collaborative data platform are leading the development of the city. Almost 95 percent of homes have broadband access.
Smart technologies involve planning, environment, buildings, and living. It is the first city in the world to launch driverless taxis, and the innovative city is in the 2nd spot in technology. For the international project dimension, it ranks 3rd and 7th for environmental sustainability.
On the 5th place is Amsterdam. Its best dimensions are international projection and mobility and transportation. Social cohesion, however, is the weakest spot. Its financial technology, energy, and culture make it an important power in Europe.
90% of households in Amsterdam have an advanced system of public use of shared bicycles. It is also going to work on a project to ban gasoline and diesel cars by 2025. The city is also among the top 20 in the economy, technology, and urban
Tokyo placing 6th in the overall ranking is the most populous agglomeration in the world. It is one of the cities with the highest labour productivity, and the highest city ranked in Asia. In economy, human capital, and environment dimensions it ranks 3rd, 9th, and 6th, respectively. For urban planning, mobility, transportation, and technology it is among the top 30 cities of the world.
The city ranking 7th has the best performance on mobility and transportation (rank 4), human capital (5), and international projection (9). It still needs improvements in areas of the economy and environment.
The Canadian city plans to develop a waterfront space that will tackle issues like climate change, urban sprawl, affordability, and efficiency. It is always up with many smart city projects. Some of the best dimensions of Toronto include place, product, people, prosperity, programming, and performance.
9. Hong Kong
In the field of technology, more than 70 initiatives were launched in 2017 and were called as smart government and smart economy. Hong Kong is also a major port and a global financial center which achieves the best marks on technology. The smart city blueprint project makes use of innovation to address certain challenges.
One of the first cities to embrace smart systems is Barcelona. The city hosted the first smart city expo in 2011, and presently it is saturated with LED light pole-mounted sensors that monitor traffic. City managers also provide data with waste levels leading to great operational efficiencies.
The city also has free Wi-Fi coverage available. A series of applications are created to inform citizens and keep them engaged.
Stands out among smart cities for creating a sustainable and eco-friendly environment. The cities have millions of LED lights that are connected to stations that can be adjusted according to the needs. The smart license plate detectors come up with a data-based way to improve traffic congestion.
The city does well for the environment, low level of pollution, and contamination, and governance. Half of the city use cycles to go for work. The city has committed to be carbon neutral by 2025. It ranks 3rd for the environment dimension.
The capital of Austria performs best in mobility and transportation (rank 7) and international outreach (rank 7). It also places in the top 25 for technology, environment, and human capital.
It is also the best performing city for the environment. It is a city with 100% renewable hydroelectric and geothermal energy sources. It ranks 14th for social cohesion as well. The city has also put forward an action plan in which goals are established for a city with zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Boston opened its innovation district and created over 200 startups. The city ranks among the top 10 in urban development. Its goal is to make use of technology to change the way people use streets and transportation. Smart streets have cameras and sensors to record people’s interaction and activity on the streets.
From the list, it is clear that European cities continue to dominate the rankings. Other notable cities include Basel, Bern, Bucharest, Stuttgart, Melbourne, and Gothenburg. The majority of cities need to work to improve their social cohesion and the few to maintain their commitment to the environment. The smart cities use types of sensors for collecting data and the insights gained are used to manage resources and services. Data is collected from citizens, buildings, devices and then processed and analyzed to monitor transportation systems, crime detection, power plants, waste, and water supply, and other community services.
Co-author: Shraddha Thuwal
Shraddha Thuwal is the author of the book “Let us Conquer over weakness”. She is a blogger and her work has been published in various anthologies. By writing, she aims to reach out to people, create awareness and create a positive impact globally.