What Are The Five Smartest Cities In The World?

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A recent Forbes article listed the current top five smartest cities in the world, according to a recent study by Juniper Research. As cities and urban environments expand, it's become increasingly important for them not only to be productive, but to be 'smart' too. Smart cities use data, technology and innovation to improve the lives of their citizens, whilst also being more eco-friendly and sustainable.

The report's author Stephen Sorrell stresses that sustainability isn't the only benefit to smart cities; they can become more efficient, too. He explained that these five essential components make a city 'smart': technologies; buildings: utilities; transportation and road infrastructure; and the smart city itself.

Smart cities tend to attract inhabitants who are motivated by the economy and who wish to advance themselves using the available technology. This creates something of an oxymoron as the more people that live in these cities, the more problems of waste, consumption and congestion arise; yet people still expect greater efficiency and technological development.

Speaking to Forbes, Sorrel explained that the report evaluated cities using metrics such as energy management and monitoring systems, smart grid involvement, traffic and parking, street lighting, citizen engagement, use of open data, technological capability and many more.

Barcelona came in first place, not because its metrics came 'top of the class', but because its metrics performed consistently above average in all areas. It came out well particularly for environment and smart parking.

Next on the list came New York city, which was praised for its smart street lighting and traffic management; followed by London which fared well in terms of technology and open data. Nice came in third place, thanks to its high scores for agency cohesion, and Singapore came fifth, scoring high for traffic management and 'creative use of technology.'

When asked whether a city's population size can be an advantage or disadvantage to boosting its smart credentials, Sorrell replied that "the issue is more to do with population density and area than overall population when looking at the concept of resource-strain." 

"High population densities over a wide area create strategic complexity," he explained. "Therefore the need for agency collaboration and analytics is even greater to decide on implementation."

Smartest City Barcelona

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