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Report ranks top 50 smart cities on leadership and governance

London leads due to its ‘inclusive’ smart city approach.


A new study from Eden Strategy Institute and OXD (ONG&ONG Experience Design) ranks its top 50 smart city governments globally.


The Eden Strategy Institute says this is the first independent ranking of its kind that investigates the roles that city governments play in leading a smart city strategy, beyond celebrating the technological attainments of the cities themselves.


This 2018/19 rankings studied 140 smart cities and ranked them across ten areas:


1) Clarity of vision

2) Leadership

3) Budget

4) Provision of financial incentives

5) Support programmes

6) Talent-readiness

7) People-centric approach

8) Development of an innovation ecosystem

9) Implementation of “smart” policies

10) Track record of previous initiatives and projects.


Interviews were also conducted with city officials.


City leaders


The top 10 cities were ranked as:

  1. London
  2. Singapore
  3. Seoul
  4. New York
  5. Helsinki
  6. Montreal
  7. Boston
  8. Melbourne
  9. Barcelona
  10. Shanghai

Loveable cities


Mr. Calvin Chu Yee Ming, Partner at Eden Strategy Institute, said: “Smart Cities are taking centre stage in securing an adaptable, inclusive, productive, sustainable and resilient future for humanity. Leading the development and re-invigoration of high-performing and loveable cities is one of the grandest challenges of our time."


He added: “Governments are eager to explore different ways to integrate digital technology, knowledge, and assets. This study offers unprecedented access to the most effective instruments to help governments become more responsive to users, improve city services, and make cities more loveable.”


Mr. Joshua Teo, Associate and Lead at OXD, noted: “Through this study, we hope to provide insight into how city governments can co-ordinate their smart city initiatives better in ways that reflect a deep understanding of the human condition and the transformative power of citizen ownership and empowerment.”




There were a number of key findings from the research:

  • European cities were more likely to involve their citizens in developing smart city projects, including the use of joint consultation, co-creation and participatory budgeting.
  • American cities score highly due to a federal government competition which is prompting city governments to develop comprehensive, robust and detailed smart city strategies that focus on urban mobility.
  • Six Indian cities are among among the Top 50 Smart City Governments with smart city plans co-created with citizens, and supported by systematically-planned and mobilised budgets from the central government.
  • Large investments in ICT infrastructure, together with highly-integrated public services, are helping major Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing rapidly scale their smart city projects to millions of citizens.
  • The ranking recognises the efforts of smart cities at the nascent stage, like Jakarta, Phuket and Kigali that are experimenting with integrated data platforms, public-private partnerships, and innovation districts.

Download the report to see the top 50.


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