The 7 smartest cities in the world

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Nowadays, smart technology is extremely popular. It seems to have become crucial for all of our gadgets to have a Wi-Fi connection, as well as an array of other technological capabilities. But what if you applied this concept to an entire city? Enter smart cities, the next step in large-scale technological innovation.

Real-world cities are set to get smart, but which cities are considered the smartest right now?

1. Hong Kong

hong kong landscape photo

Hong Kong has been making smart developments for a few years now. In 2017, the city released a plan that would be used to gradually make the city smarter. This plan included 76 different initiatives, including “Smart Mobility”, “Smart Living”, “Smart Environment”, “Smart People”, “Smart Government” and “Smart Economy”. These initiatives aim to create a city that is more sustainable, more connected and overall more pleasant to live in.

A particularly technology-driven element of this project is the “Smart Living” initiative, which consists of providing free Wi-Fi to the public in all areas and promoting digital payment methods, such as through their smartphone using NFC. In addition to this, improving health care and support for the elderly and disabled is also a goal.

Along with this comes the “Smart Mobility” initiative, which focuses on an “intelligent” transport system that integrates an all-in-one application called “HKeMobility”. This app can be used to find walking trails in all areas of the city. In addition, this initiative involves the installation of 1,200 traffic detectors that provide real-time traffic information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Overall, it looks like this city will become hyper-efficient. over the next decade.

2. Oslo

oslo photographed at night

The Norwegian capital Oslo is not considered a big city globally, like New York or Hong Kong, but continues to develop its smart capabilities. One of the main goals here is to improve the lives of civilians by making the city more sustainable and interconnected.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key technology used to achieve this goal. It involves devices or other objects equipped with software, sensors and other technological features, which form a network with other devices to communicate (usually through an Internet connection). This technology is a popular choice in smart cities and is used in Oslo to manage key areas of the city, such as waste management, urban mobility and water management.

There are also other areas under development in Oslo. For example, electric buses, industry development and zero-emission construction sites are also given special attention.

3. London

london gateway photo

England’s capital London is the busiest in the whole of the UK, so it’s no surprise that it’s getting smarter and smarter. Several projects are associated with this move towards smart, including Talk London, an online community that allows Londoners to express themselves on various plans and policies related to the city.

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In addition, the Connected London project aims to improve digital connectivity across the city. Part of this project is to work on the Connected London Full Fiber Network, which is designed to provide 400 km of interconnected underground tunnels, 500 km of roads and 80,000 pieces of street furniture.

Additionally, the City Connectivity Map can now be used to see which areas of London have the best and worst broadband coverage. The continued focus on sustainable energy, low carbon accelerators and the implementation of electric vehicles is also moving the city forward towards a smart future.

4. Dubai

dubai photographed at night

Dubai’s incredibly rapid development over the past few decades has been nothing short of astounding. Today, the city is entering the smart age. Some smart services have already been launched, including the Smart Nol card, allowing civilians to use public transport via NFC payment.

The city also launched the DubaiNow app, which allows civilians to pay for utilities, including healthcare, education, residence and transportation. Dubai’s smart car rental service has also been rolled out, allowing individuals to rent private vehicles using two different smartphone apps: Udrive and Ekar.

Another big project launched by Dubai is its autonomous transport strategy. The aim is to automate 25% of the city’s transport by 2030. One can only wonder what this will look like!

5. Amsterdam

amsterdam river photo

Amsterdam is known for its rich history and culture, and now it is known for its intelligent abilities. This involves open source city data, which anyone can access at any time and add relevant data whenever they want. This transparent system is ideal for keeping civilians informed and aware of the ins and outs of the city.

In addition, Amsterdam and the Netherlands as a whole have the fastest internet speeds in the entire European Union. This allows for super fast connectivity and helps in certain areas of the Amsterdam Smart City Initiative, or ASC. The ASC started in 2009 and includes a long list of different projects focused on improving the city as a whole, including cleaning up rivers, managing the road network and improving the lives of residents.

This improved quality of life will hopefully be provided by the city’s Wyzer app. The app allows civilians to explore the city’s most unconventional paths while discovering the “hidden gems” highlighted by the app. The introduction of the Amsterdam Social Glass project also makes it possible to collect analyzes and forecasts of real-time urban data, which provide key information on the attitudes and circumstances of the public. Pretty insightful stuff!

6. Barcelona

landscape photo of the city of barcelona

The bustling Spanish city of Barcelona is known for its incredible food and even more incredible views. But who would have thought that this historic city would make smart innovations? Well, get ready to see Barcelona in a much more modern light. It was indeed the first European city to implement smart technologies.

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Barcelona, ​​like Oslo, uses IoT to achieve technological developments, especially in the field of waste management. For example, IoT is implemented in city trash cans, which can inform the relevant party of how much trash has been distributed at any given time. Other facilities such as smart street lights, natural disaster early warning systems and smart parcel lockers will also be introduced to the city on a large scale.

Other environmentally focused technologies will also be implemented in the city, including air quality monitors, carsharing services and home energy consumption monitoring systems. There will even be behavior-based monitoring of water consumption. Pretty futuristic stuff.

7. New York

new york skyline photo

Yes, as you might expect, one of the best-known cities in the world is making strides towards smart innovation. The integration of smart lighting, smart water meters and smart waste management is quickly making this city one of the smartest on the market. For example, a smart trash can called BigBelly is equipped with a trash compactor and a wireless sensor that records the amount of trash disposed of per trash can.

In addition to that, the city is focusing on monitoring air quality, given the air pollution issues it is currently facing. Other environmental initiatives have also been founded, including the Clean Neighborhoods Challenge and renewable energy projects that will allow the city to use more environmentally friendly fuels.

Singapore: an honorable mention

singapore night photo

Although Singapore is not technically a city, it is one of the most technologically advanced places in the world. Its Smart Mobility 2020 initiative focuses on the development of an intelligent transport system. This is associated with the Travel Smart program, which aims to more efficiently distribute travel densities and peak-hour demand on Singapore’s rail network by encouraging citizens to consider more carefully when and how they travel.

Additionally, Singapore launched the Smart Nation app, allowing residents to order autonomous vehicle services, receive air quality and temperature alerts, and report municipal issues. Power to the people!

Someday every city could be smart in its own right

With the increasing prevalence of smart technologies in places around the world, there is no doubt that more and more governments will decide to take smart initiatives and improve their levels of sustainability, interconnectivity and the lives of citizens. What an exciting thought!


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