Connectivity

Report: Singapore is the “smartest” city in the world

However, the report, co-commissioned by Swiss and Singaporean universities, found most citizens care about more tangible issues.
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Seng Chye Teo/Getty Images

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The world’s smartest city is not London, Paris, New York, or Tokyo.

A report from the Switzerland–based Institute for Management Development (IMD) and the Singapore University for Technology and Design’s (SUTD) named Singapore as the world’s “smartest” city.

Singapore won the top spot due to its strong drive to introduce technological solutions into its citizens' lives, for better or worse. While Singapore has become a tech Mecca due to innovation like vertical farming and smart lamp posts, it has faced some criticism for using tech to surveil its citizens and clamp down on human rights.

  • The report rated 118 cities around the world, based on a combination of survey results from citizens regarding how well the city used technology, as well as economic and social data from the UN Human Development Index.

The rest of the top five spots were given to Zurich, Switzerland, Oslo, Norway, Taipei City, Taiwan, and Lausanne, Switzerland.

New York City is the highest-ranked American city in the index, coming in at 12th place. Other American cities in the ranking included Los Angeles (31st), Washington, DC (35th), Seattle (43rd), and Denver (45th).

  • Abu Dhabi leads the Middle East region, in 28th place; Moscow leads Eastern Europe, at 54th place, while Buenos Aires and Cairo lead South America and Africa at 98th and 104th place, respectively.

Big picture: For all the hype that smart cities place on tech like smarter transportation and lighting, most people don’t prioritize smart-city tech. The report found that most citizens care about more tangible issues like access to affordable housing, employment opportunities (or lack thereof), health services, and pollution.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly wrote that Taipei City is the capital of Taipei. It's the captial of Taiwan. Apologies for the mistake.

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