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Smart city ranking focuses on citizens’ perceptions

A new ranking focuses on how citizens perceive the priorities and effectiveness of smart city initiatives.


A new ranking from the Institute for Management Development (IMD) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) focuses on how citizens perceive the scope and impact of efforts to make their cities ‘smart’.


The first edition of the Smart City Index 2019, created by the IMD World Competitiveness Center’s Smart City Observatory, in partnership with SUTD, ranks 102 cities worldwide.


The top 10 cities in the IMD Smart City Index 2019 are Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen, Auckland, Taipei Citiy, Helsinki, Bilbao and Dusseldorf.


IMD Smart City Index 2019
IMD Smart City Index 2019

The researchers surveyed 120 residents, chosen at random, in each city. Each survey has 40 questions, mainly focused on infrastructure and technology and relating to health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities for work and education, and governance.


Citizens were also asked about their attitudes to the use of personal data, facial recognition and overall trust in local authorities. A final question asked them to summarise the perceived priority areas out of 15 possible options.


The top 10 cities in the IMD Smart City Index 2019 are Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen, Auckland, Taipei City, Helsinki, Bilbao and Dusseldorf.


The cities’ scores were tallied and each was given a grade from AAA to D. Singapore and Zurich were the only cities to receive AAA scores. Sixteen cities appear in the A range, 48 in the B, 32 in C and six in D.


Do we need another ranking?


The highest-ranked US city is San Francisco at number 12, followed by Washington at 31.


The report authors – Professor Arturo Bris, Director, IMD World Competitiveness Center; Bruno Lanvin, President, IMD Smart City Observatory; and Professor Chan Heng Chee, Chairman, SUTD Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities – note in the report that: "So many ‘smart city indices’ have blossomed over the past few years. Why would we need another one? The main reason is simple: the quasi-totality of existing indices remains technology-centric.


"They give little or no room to assessing the ’why?’ which underpins (or should underpin) any strategy to make a city smarter, or to build one from scratch."


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