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From Site Selection magazine, July 2024

Switzerland and U.S. West Coast Display Superior Smarts

Smart Cities
Hyundai Motor Group in November 2023 opened its first smart urban mobility hub, Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore, in the No. 5 city in IMD’s Smart City Index.
Image courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

by Adam Bruns

wo rankings from organizations in Switzerland and Sweden create overlapping maps of the most mindful metros, aka smart cities.

In April, the Smart City Observatory, part of the IMD World Competitiveness Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, revealed its newest Smart City Index, produced in partnership with the Seoul-based World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization (WeGO). IMD said researchers combined hard data and survey responses from citizens in 142 cities worldwide.


The index found three of the top 10 in IMD’s home country. Zurich topped the ranking, followed by Oslo, Norway, and Canberra, Australia. For the first time since the Index’s creation in 2019, there were no North American cities in the Top 20. All but three were Asian or European. The biggest upward move in the top 20 was Taipei City moving up 13 spots to No. 16. Shanghai moved up six places to No. 19, while Geneva and Dubai each moved up five positions to No. 4 and No. 12, respectively. IMD said Zurich, Oslo, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Beijing and Seoul are the most consistently high-performing cities in the top 20 since the Index started in 2019.


Sweden-based real estate technology company ProptechOS released its own Smart City Index ranking cities in Europe and the United States based on 16 indicators spanning connectivity and infrastructure, sustainability and the tech job market. Its highest-ranking European city was Paris, France, which didn’t make IMD’s global top 20. However, its No. 2-ranked city of London was No. 8 in IMD’s index. IMD’s No. 18 Amsterdam was No. 3 on the ProptechOS list, while IMD’s No. 11 Stockholm, Sweden, was No. 7 in the rankings of ProptechOS, which is based in Stockholm.

The company said Olympic Games host city Paris “boasts 99.9% 5G coverage by the average network provider, Europe’s second-highest number (532) of AI companies, and the third-highest number (10,663) of free wifi hotspots. Paris is also known for its smart traffic management systems, which help monitor noise levels, air quality and other environmental factors.”


Seattle, Miami and Austin topped the Swedish company’s U.S. rankings, with the Bay Area metros of San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco taking three of the next four spots in that order. “Home to the likes of Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle scores highly for tech infrastructure,” the company said, “with 34 AI companies and 13 IoT companies headquartered there per 100,000 people.”

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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