Cities That Came out on Top: First Edition of the World Smart City Rankings

The rankings show which cities are most adapted to smart technology integration.
Chris Young

IMD Business School in Singapore has just presented its first edition of the worldwide 'Smart City Index 2019,' which ranks 102 cities.

The index ranks cities based on their integration of smart technology.

While some of the top contenders are to be expected, there are also some surprising omissions from the top of the list.


The top 10 smart cities

The IMD World Competitiveness Center’s Smart City Observatory released the index in partnership with Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

"Being a globally-recognized ‘smart’ city is now critical for attracting investment and talent, creating a potential ‘virtuous cycle’ in favor of an advanced group of cities," IMD said in their press release.

The Top 10 smartest cities can be seen below 2019:

  1. Singapore
  2. Zurich
  3. Oslo
  4. Geneva
  5. Copenhagen
  6. Auckland
  7. Taipei City
  8. Helsinki
  9. Bilbao
  10. Dusseldorf

Notably, London (20th) and San Francisco (12th) aren't in the list of the top 10. In Spain, meanwhile, Bilbao is ahead of tech hub Barcelona (48th).

As the IMD release says, the index "focuses on how citizens perceive the scope and impact of efforts to make their cities ‘smart’, balancing 'economic and technological aspects' with 'humane dimensions.'"

Poorer cities falling behind

The IMD World Competitiveness Center points out that some cities might fall behind, as smart cities become more innovative, and in doing so, find it easier to innovate even further.

This loop bears similarities, and indeed is connected to, Ray Kurzweil's idea of 'the Singularity' that some predict will be brought on by artificial intelligence.

There is a need to work with poorer cities to help them keep up with the rest, IMD representatives say.

“Smart cities are growing and blossoming in all parts of the world. Economic realities cannot be ignored: cities in poorer countries face disadvantages, which will require specific actions to correct along the path towards smartness,” states Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

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