Top 10 smart cities
EasyPark, an app designed to make urban living easier by helping drivers find and pay for parking, is a self-professed lover of cities – especially those that are on the forefront of the "smart" movement. Starting with a list of 500 cities from across the globe, EasyPark analysed each for 19 factors that set a smart city apart from one that is not.
These factors ranged from the availability of digitalisation and sustainability to access to cutting-edge transportation options and governmental services. Each factor was given a score ranging from one to 10 with 10 being the highest score. Below, the top 10 smart cities are highlighted along with some of the programmemes, solutions or initiatives that helped them earn a spot on the list.
10 | Melbourne, Australia
EasyPark gave Melbourne, Australia high marks in its "citizen participation" category, and for good reason. Located on the ground floor of the Melbourne Town Hall, CityLab is where ideas for a human-centric city design are prototyped and tested. Already, Melbourne unveiled a programmeme using beacon technology to help blind, deaf and deaf-blind people navigate Campbell Arcade more easily with other initiatives on the way.
9 | Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva, Switzerland is already taking significant steps to meet the country's goal to be 100% sustainable by the year 2050. One of the leading Swiss cities in terms of managing its water, electricity, public lighting, heating and other sources of energy consumption, Geneva earned the European Gold Label for sustainable cities in 2010. Lake Geneva, Western Europe's largest lake, is used to both heat and cool about 400 buildings including the headquarters of the United Nations.
8 | Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is a leading innovator of small initiatives. In fact, the city won the 2016 Capital of Innovation award from Europe. A key factor in the city's long history of innovation is its reliance on fostering and experimenting with pilot programmes and incubators. By partnering citizens with governmental agencies and startups, programmes such as reducing the number of times garbage trucks have to go down narrow streets and differentiating between four different waste streams have been formed.
7 | San Francisco, United States
San Francisco's smart city plan aims to tackle the city's transportation woes. Though the government acknowledges that many people already use alternative methods of transportation including bikes, ride sharing, public transit and walking, the smart city plan is focused on making it easier for people to get to where they are going by implementing a system that uses less space while also being more efficient.
6 | Tokyo, Japan
Japan, always a hotbed of technological advances, is the natural place for a smart city. In Tokyo, the city's strategy includes the continued advancement of technology as well as a focus on improving energy efficiency and security. One of the ways it does so is with its adoption of green initiatives for building infrastructures.
5 | Boston, United States
One of only two entries from the United States in the EasyPark survey, Boston continues to be a trailblazer in terms of innovation. In 2010, it became one of the first cities to implement experimental smart initiatives, and it hasn't slowed down since. The Boston Seaport is known as the city's Innovation District and Boston has also introduced a slew of apps that encourage more involvement from citizens in shaping their city.
4 | Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland received top marks for smart buildings in the EasyPark survey but that's only one aspect of the city's appeal. In a partnership between the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and SwissEnergy for Municipalities, the city has established lofty goals for itself. Among the most ambitious is that it must become a "2,000-watt society" by 2050. By that year, each person can only consumer 2,000 watts of energy. Currently, the national average across Switzerland is about 5,000 watts so far-reaching efforts are being implemented.
3 | Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden is home to Spotify, an app that is adding so many users that it's surpassed Apple and other leading brands in this benchmark. In addition, Spotify is second only to Netflix in the number of subscribers. Tech innovations aren't the only area where Stockholm leads other cities though. Hagadstaden, a neighbourhood on the Stockholm and Solna border, is to include specialised medical care facilities and world-class research facilities.
2 | Singapore
City state Singapore is taking a comprehensive approach in the goal of becoming the world's first smart city that's focused using the internet of things. Its Smart Nation programme involves the city becoming a living laboratory. Thousands of sensors have been installed across the city including places like the Yuhua estate and bus stops to help citizens and government officials monitor services, energy use and more.
1 | Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark has numerous claims to fame when it comes to being a smart city. Not only did it secure the number one spot on the EasyPark list of such urban areas, Copenhagen has a thriving bike culture in which the number of two-wheeled vehicles outnumbers those with four or more wheels. A city that embraces parks and other green spaces, it's a goal of Copenhagen to become the first capital that's carbon neutral by 2025.