This list was created by taking many different aspects of the cities into account including Innovation Cities top 100, Quality of Life rankings, Siemens regional ranking of green cities, the digital rankings of Digital community for cities in the US indicated as DC, and the IDC rankings of smart cities in spain (indicated as IDC in the table. As well as the digital governance in municipalities worldwide study to compare cities on their innovative use of ICT.
The table below summarizes the rankings used to develop this ranking of smart cities.
The phrase “smart cities” is ambiguous in the way that some people choose a more narrowed definition – i.e cities that use information and communication technologies to their citizens. Rather than a broader definition for instance – Smart cities use information and communication tech (ICT) to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental footprint- all supporting innovation and a low-carbon economy.
The top 10 smart cities ranked in this way are as follows:
1- Vienna – Vienna is hardly publicized as a smart city however it 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 ahead of the curve in terms of bold smart-city targets and tracking their progress to reach them, with programs like Smart Energy Vision 2050, Roadmap 2020, and Action Plan 2012-2015. Vienna’s architects are incorporating stakeholder consultation processes into building and executing carbon reduction, transportation and land use plannign changes in the hopes of making the city a major European player in smart city tech.
2- Toronto – The highest rated smart city in North America, toronto also scores pretty well across the board. Recognizing it’s importance in the movement, IBM recently opened a Business Analytics Solutions Centre in Toronto. Toronto is an active member of the Clinton 40 (C40) Megacities, which aim to force the transition to the low-carbon economy. In Toronto, it is not only the public sector that is pitching in, the private sector are also collaborating by creating a Smart Commute Toronto initiative in the hopes of increasing transit efficience in the metro area. Toronto have recently started using natural gas from landfills to power the city’s garbage trucks. That is smart “closed loop” thinking.
3- Paris – As is common within ranking on sustainability, Europe fared well. Paris was highly rated in several categories not least including innovation (3), green cities in Europe (10), and digital governance (11). Paris was already on the map for its highly successful bike sharing program, Velib not to mention the mayor who launched a similar model for small EVs called Autolib, which currently has 250 rental stations.
4-New York – NY scored higher than the vast majority of other cities in the ranking of all categories outside quality of life, where it was ranked at a depressing 47. New York partnered with IBM in 2009 to launch another IMB Business Analytics Solution Center to address “the growing demand for complex capabilities needed to build smarter cities and help client’s opimize all mannor of business processes and decisions. In New York IBM’s kit has already started helping the city prevent fires and protect first responers as well as identify questionable tax refund claims – a move that is expected to create savings over about $100 million for the city of the next five years.
5-London– Our capital also scored relatively high across the board. London has been well-recognized for its innovations that combat barriers to sustainability for instance the congestion tax, as well its efficient transit system. The Smart Cities research centre will soon be housed at the Imperial College within the city which will leverage transport, government, business, acedemic 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 biggest free WiFi network in Europe.
6- Tokyo – Tokyo is the first Asian city on this list, scoring healthily in the innovation (22) and digital city (15) classifications. Last year, the city announced plans to create a smart town in the suburbs. In collaboration 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 it’s 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 partnership 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. It seems Copenhagen has been doing a lot right as of late. It was ranked number one on the green scale in Europe by Siemens and also achieved the number one rating in global resilient cities ranking last year. There is reasoning behind this: Copenhagen is taking a real leadership stance when it comes to sustainable innovation. The city has committed to carbon neurtrality by 2025 and 40% of its population regularly commute via bicycle. Moreover, Frank Jensen, the mayor, recently spoke about the role of cities as growth engines and the potential to stimulate the economy through cleantech innovation.
9-Hong Kong– Hong Kong was impressive in key areas including digital governance ranking (3). However, they were dropped to ranking of nine as they were ranked 70th in the quality of life score. Hong Kong is experimenting with RFID technology in its airport, as well as throughout the agriculture supply chain. The city has also been a world leader in the use and adoption of smart cards, which are already used by millions of citizens each day 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, with good reason. The city is a world beater and a pioneer in Smart City and low carbon solutions. It was among the first in the world to introuce 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.
There were many other strong candidates that were runners up in this first ranking but will expectantly break through the ranks in the coming years including Amsterdam, Melbourne, Seattle, Sao Paulo, Stockholm and Vancouver.
Industry experts and insider pundits expect smart cities to become a sizable market, with projections of nearly $40 billion spent on smart cities technologies by 2016. And real estate experts predict that smart cities will in future be attractive to the educated work force and will therefore become real-estate gold. This in itself is core reasoning for jumping on the smart-city bandwagon.
Next year maybe your city could crack the top ten rankings? Where would you start with improvements?