Smart Cities At Their Best – Which One Excel In Its Sphere?

Top 5 Smart Cities Leading The World

Until now, we have been focusing on rankings of Top Smart Cities, Top Eco-friendly Cities and Top Walkable Cities. This time the list of cities we are unveiling is different and quite interesting in its own way. Instead of discussing the ‘Top Tens’ and ‘Top Twenties’ we have handpicked cities that are global champions in one specific field. The position gained by each smart city is as per their scores in different survey analyses. 

Our intention behind such a multifaceted list is simple, to let other cities seeking expertise in a single smart city sphere to grab knowledge from them! So let’s get to it!

New York – The Innovation Friendly City

Since the time the phrase ‘smart city’ entered the urban world, New York has always been in the list of top 10s. But to be specific, NYC is the most innovative city in the world. This comes from the 12th annual list of the world’s most innovative cities published by 2thinknow. The city has adopted a “more human and sustainable lifestyle, start-up economy and new smart technologies,” says the consultancy firm. This is in spite of the fact that Tokyo outshined in the field of smart city technology, especially robotics. 

Two of the best examples are the Hudson Yards and High Line park. The organisation quoted the initiatives to be a demonstration of how the city is reshaping itself in an innovative manner. 

Hudson Yard is a private real-estate development project touted to be the biggest so far in US history. It is an ambitious project which will have residences, commercial offices, shopping centres, green parks, elementary school and retail space. Although some critics believe this to be a “billionaire’s playground”, it is claimed to be a ‘model’ of future smart cities. On the other side, High Line Park is an innovative and sustainable public space that connects people and neighbourhoods.

Singapore – The World’s Best Mobility Hub 

Singapore Leading to Affordable Transportation System

In 2019, Singapore has been recognised as a smart city due to its leading mobility landscape. The city scored the highest marks in mobility in Juniper’s Global City Performance Index and earned the first position. In 2014, the city-state installed thousands of sensors across the region to collect data of vehicle and foot traffic. This helped the government better understand the state of mobility in the city.

Many of its transportation policies and initiatives have added to this global recognition. One of them is Singapore’s policies to reduce private car ownership. Today, the city-state has car ownership of nearly 11% compared to the US that has 80%. 

Transportation in the city is significantly responsible for providing a quality life to the residents. Recently, the Land Transit Authority (LTA) extended a pilot area for autonomous vehicles to cover entire western Singapore. The city leaders have identified that developing a mobility system that serves until the last mile is essential.  This will support the development of a resilient workforce and citizenry.  

Singapore’s LTA is creating a mobility landscape in which different types of modes of transportation can be integrated. These include walking, cycling, mass rapid transit (MRT) and buses. The city’s ‘Walk Cycle Ride’ promotes comfortable recreational spaces, sustainable energy use and reduction of pollution. The city is actively implementing intelligent technology in the mobility infrastructure. The focus is on enhancing citizen lifestyle and health through a convenient and affordable transportation system. 

Berlin – The Leading Startup City 

Valuer declared the capital of Germany, Berlin as the best startup city in the world. The firm is an AI-based platform that enables companies to identify, analyse and track a startup that will help them boost their innovation. Diversity and inclusiveness are two strengths that are giving the city a competitive advantage. Besides, it has a global reputation for being innovative in the online sector. 

While being Germany’s symbol of entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, it provides an environment where startups can thrive. The city has a comparatively low cost of living and entrepreneurs easily get access to funding. As a result, several startups from London are moving their offices to Berlin between Brexit affairs. 

Many successful startups in e-commerce like Adtech and Saas were born in Berlin. Although Berlin’s startup ecosystem is yet to cross the standards of Silicon Valley, it shows better values compared to London and New York. The city is remarkably dynamic and undoubtedly one of the most international cities in Europe. This is according to Rob Rebholz, Co-founder of SpaceWays, an on-demand storage service from Berlin-based Rocket Internet. A wealth of smart people from all over the globe come here to work in the flourishing internet sector. For example, the SpaceWays team comprises people from five nationalities. 

Besides, the startup mindset of the city is changing as people have developed a new perspective that comes from Silicon Valley. Failure is a part of delivering a successful outcome in the end. 

Tokyo – The Best Hospital City 

We know that healthy citizens create a healthy future for cities. And therefore, healthcare in smart cities is crucial for comprehensive yet sustainable development. In this sphere, Tokyo, the capital of Japan appears to be a leader. A new index of the top 100 hospital cities in the world has positioned Tokyo in the first place. The study performed by digital healthcare startup Medbelle released the rankings through different inputs relating to infrastructure. It gathered data based on education, medical workforce, treatment efficiency, quality of care, medicine costs and citizen accessibility. 

Tokyo was ranked first due to its highest overall quality score. The city not only received a top ranking for hospitals but also for citizen care. Medbelle states that having a world-class hospital doesn’t make a city smart. Because, if the overall medical framework fails to offer convenient access and high-quality healthcare to everyone – then obviously it calls for improvement. This is why Medbelle focused the analysis on the overall hospital ecosystem instead of including individual institutions. 

Besides being the best hospital city, Tokyo is also recognised to have the highest number of automated services in the world. The city is rapidly emerging as the ‘land of rising robots.’ 

London – The Top Fintech City

This year, London has not just beaten New York in the ‘Top 10 Smart Cities ’ list but also in top fintech cities ranking. With this London has become the most active fintech centre by the number of fundraising deals it has accomplished in 2019. According to CNBC, the smart city has collected $2.1 billion in funding from 114 deals – before the end of the first three quarters of 2019. Many fintech companies in London have gained the coveted “unicorn” status. This distinction is given to only those firms that are valued at over $1 billion. One of the best examples is the world-famous payments giant TransferWise. 

Furthermore, digital banks in the city have successfully attracted most funding. And most of it has been allocated to the valuable tech companies that are globally recognised. For instance, Mobile-based “challenger” banks Atom Bank, Monzo and Revolut have individually raised over $300 million, as per Crunchbase. These are positioned as one of the fastest-advancing fintech firms.

Constantly, the city has been hosting international meets to attract like-minded peers with a vision to learn the latest tools used in the fintech industry. As the fintech landscape of London is expanding, its potential as a crypto powerhouse is increasing. Meaning that a number of fintech firms in the city are integrating cryptocurrency into their solutions. Moreover, four-year-old, crypto-friendly mobile bank Revolut is endeavouring to exceed a $20-40 billion valuation before IPO. Hopefully, if the startup is able to succeed it will put itself among the Silicon Valley payment giants including Square and Stripe.