Zurich has been voted the second “smartest” city in the world. Singapore took first place in the rankings, which included a total of 102 cities. This is the result of the first edition of the Smart City Index 2019 (SCI). The SCI was devised by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), a private business school located in Lausanne. The study findings have now been presented by the Smart City Observatory (SCO) of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. To this end, the SCO worked in conjunction with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
Scoring well with services for citizens
As announced by the IMD, Oslo, Geneva and Copenhagen filled the next three places below Zurich, followed then by Auckland, Taipei City, Helsinki, Bilbao and Dusseldorf to round off the top ten. These cities have not followed a consistent strategy, although the top three all scored well on account of the services on offer to citizens. However, criteria such as the environment, safety as well as access to healthcare and education played a vital role in determining the rankings. Mobility and social interaction were also rated highly.
Advantages in appealing to investors
According to the IMD, this is the only global index for cities in which the perceptions of citizens serve as benchmarks. The index made clear just how important it is for politics to take into account the perspectives offered by the inhabitants of cities. However, the group of advanced cities including Singapore, Zurich and Oslo also offers advantages in terms of their appeal to investments and specialists. Smart Cities would also create an optimum environment for creative urban planning solutions, sustainable energy and traffic management strategies, while these places would also offer improved prospects for social integration and talent promotion. However, there are, for example, huge differences between Chinese and European cities with regard to attitudes towards the acceptance of personal data and usage general trust in local authorities.
The Director of IMD World Competitiveness Center, Professor Arturo Bris, nevertheless indicated that: “economic realities cannot be ignored: cities in poorer countries face disadvantages, which will require specific actions to correct along the path towards smartness”. According to Professor Bruno Lanvin, President of the IMD’s Smart City Observatory, this index “intends to fill a gap by being a reference and tool for action to build inclusive and dynamic cities”.