- The IMD World Competitiveness Center partnered with the Singapore University of Technology and Design to release an index ranking 102 global smart cities. The rankings are based on residents' perceptions of issues related to structures and technology applications available to them in their city.
- The top five global cities are Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva and Copenhagen. Nine U.S. cities made the list; the highest ranking one is San Francisco at No. 12. It is then followed by a bevy of U.S. cities further down the list: Washington, DC (31); Boston (32); Denver (33); Seattle (34); Los Angeles (35); New York City (38); Chicago (53); and Philadelphia (54).
- The index notes that being a globally recognized smart city now is critical to attract investment and talent. This is the first edition of the index and it took the partners two years of work to compile. Researchers hope to expand the scope of topics studied as well as the number of cities included in future editions.
The cities' scores were tallied and each was given a grade from AAA to D. Singapore and Zurich were the only two cities to receive AAA scores. A total of 16 cities received scores in the "A" range (AAA, AA or A). The "B" range has the largest number of cities of the letter grades, at 48, while the "C" and "D" range had 32 and 6, respectively.
The index stands apart from the many smart city lists and rankings available because it's not based on judges' opinions or certain city advancements, but rather the perceptions of 120 citizens per city. It is easier for cities to simply adopt smart technologies and policies but far more difficult to explain them to communities and get citizens to adopt them.
The task is even more challenging for elements that the average resident does not regularly interact with or notice, such as street light sensors, wastewater management sensors or energy efficiency policies. More visible elements such as interactive kiosks or Amazon Alexa skills providing easy access to city data are easier for citizens to understand and use.
The way the index was compiled means that falling further down the list might not mean that a city is lagging in its smart city strategy. It could simply mean that the city employs smart city technologies and tactics that are less tangible and less known by the average citizen. Such cities might benefit from greater citizen engagement or marketing for smart city elements.
The index itself asks the reader why another smart city ranking is necessary with the current proliferation of such lists. In response, the index authors wrote: "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." In essence, ranking smart city achievements in this way puts citizens at the heart of the matter, which is where they should be for every task a city undertakes.