Fostering technological innovations to improve the quality of life and protect the environment is the ‘smart city’ mantra. Discover the world's most advanced smart cities.
There was a time when installing city-wide high-speed internet was enough to qualify a city as a ‘smart city’. Today, cities around the world are fostering innovation and imagination to compete with one another to become healthier, safer and more liveable.
While a city’s level of connectivity – 4G, Wi-Fi access, smartphones – remains an important criterion, other factors are now equally important. In a ‘smart city’, the use of new information and communication technologies is only worthwhile when it services the citizens and the environment.
Mobility and transport, major challenges for ‘smart cities’, have already undergone a profound transformation. Cities are developing solutions to reduce pollution by making traffic more fluid, simplifying parking (with smart car parks) and encouraging green travel (namely, with electric vehicles). Tomorrow’s information systems will allow users to choose their route or mode of transport depending on traffic, weather or pollution levels.
Other challenges include: reducing energy waste and developing renewable energies via smart electricity networks, also called ‘smart grids’, which are able to adjust the electrical currents between suppliers and consumers. In a connected city, traditional urban infrastructures (buildings, pipes, roads) are coupled with real-time data exchange mechanisms. The electric vehicle is at the heart of smart grid, particularly because of its connectivity. This grid enables smart recharging, which draws electricity when it’s at its most accessible, and returns it when it runs out.
A real societal project, the city of tomorrow makes the citizen an active consumer. The use of digital technology and artificial intelligence opens the door to unlimited possibilities in regards to everyday life (simplified administrative procedures) as well as health (tele-medicine) and education (connected universities).
A true urban laboratory at the forefront of connectivity, the capital of Denmark is at the top of our list. Copenhagen hopes to become a zero-carbon city by 2025. It has already started to equip all its streets with sensors, from lamp posts (whose sensors reduce energy consumption), to trash cans (for optimised waste collection). All its vehicles will also eventually be equipped with sensors.
This Southeast Asian city has made smart urban development its main tourist attraction. Singapore has been increasing its use of autonomous vehicles and has launched a car-sharing system for electric vehicles. It has put in place a sophisticated system of paid traffic, where prices vary according to congestion, neighbourhoods, hours and days of the week.
Our third green and connected city, Stockholm, has been working for more than 20 years to reduce its carbon footprint by developing energy-efficient building programmes, traffic system and digital services. The city just announced major investments in the fields of e-health and e-education.
The Swiss city combines a smart building management system (heating, electricity and cooling are all interconnected) with a world-class public transport infrastructure. The city is characterised by its fluid traffic and its highly developed digital infrastructure.
Fifth in our ranking, Boston stands out as the most energy-efficient city in the United States. With its innovation district, a veritable new technology hub, the city focuses on participatory urban planning, where massive data collection (traffic, air quality, waste management, etc.) in every street in the city contributes to improving overall quality of life.
Cities & planning