Singapore is top Asian city in Smart City Index, ranks 7th worldwide

The Smart City Index takes into account input from the cities’ residents on how technology has improved their lives. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE – Singapore is the smartest Asian city and the seventh-smartest in the world, according to the 2023 Smart City Index.

Published by Swiss business school Institute for Management Development (IMD) on Tuesday, the index ranks 141 cities by how they use technology to address the challenges they face to achieve a higher quality of life.

In 2020 and 2021, Singapore was also ranked seventh in the world, three places up from its rank of 10th in 2019. It had been ranked first from 2019 to 2021, but these past rankings have been adjusted according to a new methodology used for the 2023 index.

The Smart City Index was not released in 2022 as IMD was exploring the possibility of using city-specific data to provide a “more granular and realistic vision of the socio-economic environment of specific cities”, said Dr Bruno Lanvin, president of IMD’s Smart City Observatory.

The smartest cities in the world in 2023 are Zurich in the No. 1 spot, followed by Oslo and Canberra, according to the index.

The Smart City Index takes into account input from the cities’ residents on how technology has improved their lives.

About 20,000 people were surveyed on 15 aspects of living in their cities, such as affordable housing, road congestion, green spaces and employment.

They were also asked about various structures and technologies, and how comfortable they felt with technologies such as facial recognition and the sharing of personal data.

As the top Asian city, Singapore fared well in areas such as the provision of medical services, having green spaces and access to quality education.

Singapore was also among six cities cited by the index to have been “continuously improving their performance since 2019”. Zurich, Oslo, Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong were the other five cities.

The 2023 index had Asian and European cities dominating the top 20 spots out of the 141 cities surveyed.

Data showed that respondents in Singapore ranked it above the mean in all areas, with the city topping factors such as public safety, Internet speeds and children having access to good schools.

But the respondents were also concerned about affordable housing, unemployment and whether they had fulfilling employment, which were flagged as their most urgent priorities.

Other areas where Singapore did not fare as well included recycling services and cultural activities – the index cited shows, bars and museums as examples.

About 120 respondents in each city were surveyed.

Dr Lanvin said the global landscape of smart cities is changing, and the index can serve as a benchmark for progress in openness, innovation, inclusivity and sustainability. “A new world is shaping up, and changes at the city level are a precious indicator of what the future may hold. Openness and inter-city collaboration may become key components of the next wave of globalisation,” he said.

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