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Singapore maintains highest smart city ranking for second consecutive year

Singapore has managed to rank the top smart city in the world for the second consecutive year, followed by the Finnish capital (Helsinki) and Swiss city of Zurich.

The Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) Smart City Index which was launched last year, ranked Singapore the first amongst several other smart cities due to the city’s technology uptake and impact on quality of life and the economy.

The IMD has collaborated with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD) to include some key findings on the role of technology throughout the COVID-19 era. The index showed that cities with a greater technology uptake coped with the repercussions brought about by the pandemic than others.

People from 109 countries were surveyed this year throughout April and May for the index. Some of the questions which were asked were based on the technological provisions of their respective city of residence across five key areas: mobility, opportunities, health and safety, activities and governance.

As for the rest of the list, Auckland in New Zealand occupied the fourth position, Oslo (Norway) came in fifth, followed by Copenhagen, Geneva, Taipei City, Amsterdam and New York, respectively (in descending order).

Many European cities seem to have dropped in ranking this year. Some of these include Vienna which has gone down by eight places and Prague which dropped down 25 places, ranking 44th.

Arturo Bris, IMD professor, stated that the impact of the pandemic could not be ignored. He added, “Those with better technology manage the pandemic better. Smart cities are not the solution, but technology helps.”

Heng Chee Chan, chairperson of the Lee Kuan Yew Center for Innovative Cities at SUTD, said, “Smart cities closer to the top of the rankings seem to deal with unexpected challenges of the devastating pandemic with a better outcome.”

“Countries are no longer economic units. Mayors and local authorities increasingly have the power to improve the wellbeing of citizens by implementing technology,” said Bris.