So what are the world’s smartest cities? When researching the world’s best practices for climate resilient cities, a lot of different rankings are found.
For this ranking, the Innovation Cities Top 100 Index from 2thinknow, rankings linked to the quality of life of cities, the Siemens regional rankings of green cities, the digital city rankings of Digital Community for cities in the U.S. and the IDC rankings of smart cities in Spain were used.
When defining the term ‘Smart City’, a lot of definitions can be found. We like to perceive a Smart City as an urban space in which efficiency (on multiple disciplines) is optimised with the use of modern technology to improve citizen’s services and increasing their quality of life.
Lets have a look at the current top 10 smart cites:
1.) Vienna. Considering the different rankings, Vienna was the only city that ranked in the top 10 in every category: innovation city (5), regional green city (4), quality of life (1) and digital governance (8). Vienna is establishing bold smart-city targets and tracking their progress to reach them, with programs like the Smart Energy Vision 2050, Roadmap 2020, and Action Plan 2012-2015. Vienna’s planners are incorporating stakeholder consultation processes into building and executing carbon reduction, transportation and land-use planning changes in the hopes of making the city a major European player in smart city technologies.
2.) Toronto. The highest rated smart city in North America, Toronto also scores pretty well across the board. Recognizing its importance in the movement, IBM recently opened a Business Analytics Solutions Center in Toronto. Toronto is also an active member of the Clinton 40 (C40) megacities, which seek to transition to the low-carbon economy. The private sector in Toronto is collaborating too, creating a Smart Commute Toronto initiative in the hopes of increasing transit efficiency in the metro area. Toronto also recently began using natural gas from landfills to power the city’s garbage trucks. That’s smart closed-loop thinking.
3.) Paris. As is typical of sustainability-related rankings, Europe fared well. Paris was highly rated in several categories including innovation (3), green cities in Europe (10), and digital governance (11). Paris was already on the world map for its highly successful bike sharing program, Velib, and just last month, the mayor launched a similar model for small EVs called Autolib, which currently has 250 rental stations.
4.) New York. New York scored higher than most other cities in the ranking in all of the categories outside of quality of life, where it ranked a miserable 47th. New York partnered with IBM in 2009 to launch the IBM Business Analytics Solution Center to address “the growing demand for the complex capabilities needed to build smarter cities and help clients optimize all manner of business processes and business decisions.” In New York, IBM is already helping the city prevent fires and protect first responders as well as identify questionable tax refund claims–a move that is expected to save the city about $100 million over a five-year period.
5.) London. The UK capital also scored relatively high across the board. London has been well-recognized for some of its sustainability innovations (i.e. congestion tax) and its robust transit system. The city will soon be home to Smart Cities research center housed at Imperial College, which will leverage transport, government, business, academic and consumer data in hopes of making the city more efficient and innovative. Just the other day, London announced a partnership with O2 to launch the largest free Wi-Fi network in Europe.
6.) Tokyo. Tokyo is the first Asian city on this list, scoring well in the innovation (22) and digital city (15) categories. Last year, the city announced plans to create a smart town in the suburbs. In partnership with Panasonic, Accenture, and Tokyo Gas (among others), the eco-burb will contain homes that integrate solar panels, storage batteries, and energy efficient appliances all connected to a smart grid. Tokyo is also focused on promoting smart mobility solutions.
7.) Berlin. Berlin also performs well across the board, with good scores in innovation (14), green-ness (8th in Europe) and quality of life (17). In collaboration with Vattenfall, BMW, and others, Berlin is testing out vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies in the hopes of creating a virtual power plant from electric vehicles.
8.) Copenhagen. Lately, it seems Copenhagen has been doing a lot right. It was rated number one on the green scale in Europe by Siemens last year. All with good reason: Copenhagen is taking a real leadership role on sustainable innovation. The city has committed to carbon neutrality by 2025 and 40% of its citizens regularly commute via bicycle.
9.) Hong Kong. Hong Kong scored quite well in key areas, including the digital governance ranking (3). However, its quality-of-life score (70) dropped the city down to ninth in this ranking of smart cities. Hong Kong is experimenting with RFID technology in its airport, as well as throughout the agriculture supply chain. The city has also been a leader in the use and adoption of smart cards, which are already used by millions of residents for services like public transit, library access, building access, shopping, and car parks.
10.) Barcelona. Barcelona was recently ranked the number two smart city in Spain in the IDC report, and with good reason. The city is a pioneer in smart city and low-carbon solutions. It was among the first in the world to introduce a solar thermal ordinance about a decade ago, recently launched the LIVE EV project to promote the adoption of EVs and charging infrastructure, and the city also recently announced a major partnership to develop a living lab for smart-city innovation.
Other cities such as Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vancouver, Melbourne, Seattle and São Paulo were all close to enter this top 10 as well. Generally, it’s good to see that more and more cities start to adopt the Smart City concept and start to develop projects to get involved.
We’ll keep you posted!!