- Singapore is still atop a ranking of the world's 50 smartest cities in the latest version released Wednesday by the Eden Strategy Institute (ESI), followed by Seoul, London and Barcelona. New York City was the highest-placed U.S. city, ranked at No. 6.
- The other U.S. cities to make the top 50 were:
- Columbus, OH (11)
- San Francisco (13)
- Boston (32)
- Seattle (37)
- Philadelphia (39)
- Los Angeles (40)
- Chicago (42)
- ESI, itself a Singapore-based consultancy, in a separate section highlighted emerging smart cities that did not make the top 50 list. U.S. cities represented are Chula Vista, CA; Orlando, FL; Austin, TX; Pittsburgh; and San Diego.
Singapore continues to lead the way in the ESI rankings, having occupied the top spot in the most recent 2018 edition. The rankings weigh a variety of metrics, including a city's vision, policies, leadership, budget, financial incentives, support programs, ecosystem of stakeholders and the government’s track record in executing successful smart city initiatives.
The report praises Singapore for its "deliberate shift to deliver government services with more empathy and with the citizen in mind," while it said Seoul's use of data to deliver city services and partnerships with the private sector have helped "elevate their service quality." ESI notes on its website it has worked on a consulting basis with Singapore on urban and regional planning and with its design sector.
As for New York City, the report said its smart city strategy has been "instrumental" in the parts of its response to the coronavirus pandemic that appear to have worked well, including its partnerships to expand broadband internet access to underserved communities and restrict vehicular access to certain streets to allow socially distanced exercising and other activities.
New York also continues to be highly rated in smart city rankings: it was one of 10 U.S. cities ranked in the Institute for Management Development’s 2020 Smart City Index last year.
And ESI said Columbus, OH, which has leveraged its receipt of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge grant, should be the "model for connected cities of the future," in particular by reinventing mobility. The city has turned heads for experimenting with various mobility pilot programs, while it has also exceeded its goal of electric vehicle adoption and made moves to accelerate corporate and industrial decarbonization in Central Ohio.
San Francisco won plaudits from ESI for its efforts to become what the report called the "internet of things capital of the world," while Boston earned its ranking for using technology and data to make its streets safer.
ESI also recognizes various cities that are making strides to get smarter. In the North America region, the group said Chula Vista is positioning itself as a "smart city innovation launchpad" in the future of mobility, while Orlando and Austin both won praise for trying to be inclusive and compassionate cities.
Similarly, Pittsburgh was noted for weaving resident participation into the smart city development process. And San Diego was praised for its use of public-private partnerships, which "reflect the power of joint problem-solving among a wide range of stakeholders," the report reads.