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Shanghai crowned smart city of the year at Smart City Live 2020

The digital infrastructure, e-gov services, a City Brain, the integration of information technology and industry and its strategic objectives were all highlighted by the judges.

Shanghai, winner of the city award, put a four-year smart city plan in place in 2016
Shanghai, winner of the city award, put a four-year smart city plan in place in 2016

Shanghai has been named 2020 smart city of the year at the Smart City Live summit, run by Smart City Expo World Congress.


Other winners at the online event included a future of work programme delivered to Zambia by US company Werkit as part of the Global Digital Marketplace project in a new Covid-19 innovation category.


Smart Shanghai


Shanghai’s smart city plan, which has run from 2016-2020, focused on the development of a range of activities and resources including the deployment of an “intensive” digital Infrastructure, e-government services, a City Brain and the integration of information technology and industry.


Called Smart Shanghai – People-Oriented Smart City, the plan envisioned the deployment of the digital infrastructure needed to become the first “dual gigabit” city, achieving full 5G coverage in the downtown area and also accomplishing a gigabit fibre coverage of 99 per cent in the city. The e-government initiative has proven to be a useful tool for its citizens and registered more than 14.56 million users within a total population of over 24 million.


Werkit’s Innovative adaptations to the Future of Work enables access to remote digital jobs in the African country and provides digital banking services, skill advancement assistance and a virtual community of support to the Sub-Saharan youth who have suffered rising unemployment rates and low wages due to the impact of Covid-19.


The Shenzen Government Services Data Bureau won the Enabling Technologies category with its Digital City – Technology Makes a Better City initiative, aimed at improving the city’s livelihood services and city governance capabilities in order to become a modern, international and innovation-based city. Among the actions undertaken are strengthening the digital infrastructure, free WLAN coverage in public spaces, epidemic prevention management and smart policing.


In the Urban Environment section, the winner was the Mindsphere City Graph platform by Microsoft and Siemens. The City Graph enables contextual integration and analysis within cities, districts or campuses. The platform builds digital twins of real entities in a city and optimises city operations step-by-step, through IoT and advanced analytics.

The digital infrastructure helped make Shanghai the first “dual gigabit” city, achieving full 5G coverage in the downtown area and a gigabit fibre coverage of 99 per cent in the city

The Mobility award went to Pantonium, a Toronto-based company that has devised a software solution capable of converting an entire public transit fleet in a city from fixed route operations to a flexible on-demand service. Drivers are guided through optimal one stop at a time, and users request rides to and from any transit stop in the area. The solution has already been tested on the late-night fixed route buses in Belleville, Ontario registering increases in riders and reducing vehicle mileage.


ZenCity of Israel’s Data-driven Decision-Making tool for Local Governments won the Governance and Economy category. The platform uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to help local governments make data-driven decisions based on their communities’ needs and priorities, gathering and analysing millions of anonymised, aggregated data points of community feedback.


In the Living and Inclusion category, the jury chose A New Life in the Grotas: evidence-based slum improvement and urban development developed in Maceió by the Government of the State of Alagoas in Brazil. The programme combines interventions in vulnerable settlements with a focus on mobility, public spaces and housing, and strategic actions for strengthening public policies through production, use and systematisation of tabular and spatial data.


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