Top 10 Smart Cities
Gigabit counts down the world’s top 10 smart cities, with reference to the IMD Smart City Index 2019
10 | Düsseldorf
Only the seventh-largest German city, Düsseldorf nevertheless exceeds its peers thanks to a focus on smart mobility and transportation.This has been achieved in part via collaboration with private enterprise. In partnership with Deutsche Telekom, the airport has been instrumented to examine fatigue. With Siemens, meanwhile, the city has constructed a testing track for intelligent traffic technologies, anticipating the future rise of autonomous vehicles.
9 | Bilbao
Bilbao is located in the northern Spanish province of Biscay. Its smart city efforts go hand in hand with its sustainability objectives, which include a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2005 and promotion of cycling. Bilbao is also a member of the EU’s egovernment programme WeLive, targeting the axes of: strategic vision, smart management, city ecosystem development, infrastructure development and social cohesion.
8 | Helsinki
Helsinki explicitly expands the concept of a smart city to encompass the surrounding countryside, often neglected in such plans. The Helsinki Smart Region involves projects such as sustainable textile manufacture and on-demand public transport. The district of Kalasatama is held up as a specific example of smart city transformation. Previously something of a wasteland, the area is being redeveloped with in-built smart city initiatives such as waste management and smart parking.
7 | Taipei
Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, runs a governmental project management office to support the creation of ‘Smart Taipei’. Projects include smart parking sensors, wireless charging points and smart trash cans that notify authorities when full. The city also hosts the Smart City Summit and Expo, which in 2019 attracted over 40,000 visitors with almost 400 speakers. The 2020 event is focusing on AIoT, or the application of AI to IoT to power the next generation of smart cities.
6 | Auckland
Auckland, in common with many of the cities on this list, is renowned for both its quality of life, and the cost of such living. Such a combination is fertile ground for the implementation of smart city initiatives, as the city’s vision demonstrates. With the aim of becoming the world’s most liveable city, New Zealand’s most populous conurbation is implementing environmental monitoring and connecting its citizens through technologies such as 5G, which can be used to make street lamps smart.
5 | Copenhagen
Copenhagen is pursuing its smart city initiative with gusto, targeting achievements in the short term such as becoming 100% carbon neutral by 2025. Other initiatives include the likes of improving access to data, long term planning to protect the environment and partnerships between the private and public sector. On that last point, the city says that its efforts have a clear economic imperative. Some 250 companies are involved in smart city activities, with two thirds of those being “small” companies.
4 | Geneva
The first of two Swiss cities on this list, demonstrating the country’s focus in this area, Geneva’s smart city ambitions act as a model for the rest of the world, not least because of its diplomatic clout as the HQ of UN organisations such as the World Health Organisation. One initiative saw the installation of sensors throughout the city to provide information, such as free parking spaces, and measure traffic noise. The city is partnering with companies such as SIG to transition to sustainable local energy sources.
3 | Oslo
Norway’s capital’s Smart Oslo project has the stated aim of making the city smarter and greener as well as more inclusive and creative. It offers a large suite of apps for citizens, allowing such diverse activities as payments for parking, access to statistics and reporting of local issues. The city is testing initiatives such as electric buses and the retrofitting of old buildings with greener energy systems, while also ensuring construction sites reduce their carbon footprints thanks to zero-emissions tenders.
2 | Zurich
Switzerland’s largest city has a reputation for smartness matching the reputation it has for liveability. Specific projects undertaken at the city include centralised access to all of the city’s online services, a city-wide Internet of Things network known as LoRaWAN, and a plan to electrify most public transport by 2030. Zurich’s programme also takes an explicitly green focus, pondering the issue of emissions from intra-city transportation. Efforts are also being made to not lose sight of citizens as new technology comes in.
1 | Singapore
The city-state of Singapore is a hub for finance and logistics, allowing it to punch above its weight to achieve an estimated GDP of $372.8bn in 2019. Singapore is investing serious funds into its Smart Nation Initiative, the smart city project launched in 2014. In 2017, the city-state’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said that $2.4bn would be invested in digitalisation over the ensuing four years. Pillars of the programme include digitalisation of the economy, the government and society at large.