IMD and Singapore University of Technology and Design have published the second edition of the Smart City Index report. In the context of this index, a smart city is defined as "an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanization for its citizens". The 2020 index ranked 109 cities based on economic and technological data, as well as by their citizens’ perceptions of how “smart” their cities are.
Singapore, Helsinki and Zurich took the podium positions. Many European cities fell in the rankings because of the sanitary crisis caused by COVID-19. Singapore was number one also in 2019, and Helsinki now rose from 8th to 2nd place.
Smart cities manage pandemics better
“It is of course too early to draw final lessons from COVID,” said Bruno Lanvin, President of the IMD Smart City Observatory. “However, it is clear that we are at a critical juncture, where the health crisis is still very much with us, while the economic and social crisis that it will entail has hardly started.”
“This year’s Smart City Index suggests that the cities that have been able to combine technologies, leadership and a strong culture of ‘living and acting together’ should be able to better withstand the most damaging effects of such crises", says Lanvin, referring to a correlation between smarter cities and those handling the pandemic better.
“Those with better technology manage the pandemic better,” said Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. He added that that while smart cities are not the solution, technology certainly helps.
Professor Heng Chee Chan, Chairperson of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at SUTD, agreed adding, “Smart cities closer to the top of the rankings seem to deal with unexpected challenges of the devastating pandemic with a better outcome.”
The full 2020 Smart City Index report is available here.