Technology is developing faster than ever before. But are our cities keeping up?
Whether it’s the exponential growth of artificial intelligence informing our daily lives and decision-making or the spread of IoT (internet of things), the increasing development of different forms of technology is moving faster with each passing year.
But new technologies can only support us as much as the infrastructure and environment around us are built to facilitate it.
There are many ways to measure the digital infrastructure or ‘smartness’ of a city. And for this research, we have collated and aggregated various metrics in order to reveal which major cities in Europe and the USA are best prepared for a smarter future.
There is a multitude of ways to measure the smartness of a city and how proficiently adapted it is to evolving digital technologies. For the purpose of this study, we have considered 11 measurements that fall into the categories of tech infrastructure and connectivity, a tech-driven job market, and sustainability.
1. Tech Infrastructure And Connectivity:
– Free WiFi hotspots
– Broadband download speeds
– Availability of airports
– Number of IoT companies (in total and per 100,000 of the population)
– Number of 5G network towers
2. Green Infrastructure:
– The number of public-access electric vehicle charging points
– The number of public access electric vehicle charging points per 10,000 of the population
– The number of ‘green certified’ buildings
3. Tech-Driven Job Market:
– The number of tech jobs
– The number of tech jobs per 10,000 of the population
Taking these 11 indicators into equally-weighted consideration, here are the results of our index that reveals which cities are best prepared for a smarter future.
The highest-ranking city in the U.S. is Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas takes the top spot in our ranking of smart city potential across the US.
Both the city’s technology infrastructure (87.7 out of 100) and green infrastructure (91.7 out of 100) rank significantly high in comparison to many other cities, with the 8th highest number of publicly accessible EV charging stations (329), the 11th highest per 10,000 people (33.2), and the 8th highest number of ‘Internet of Things’ companies (76) headquartered and operating there.
The 10 US cities best prepared for a ‘smart city’ future
Based on 11 metrics, divided into three categories (tech infrastructure, green infrastructure, tech jobs market) equally weighted with a score out of 100, and combined towards one total score out of 100.
The highest-ranking city in Europe is London
European cities score lower than the average US city in smart city potential. However, within the top 20 cities overall, we can see that both London (3rd) and Amsterdam (16th) rank in good company as two of the best-performing cities in our analysis.
As the top European city, London scores particularly high on its technology and connectivity infrastructure, and on its green infrastructure. The English capital has nine 5G towers installed, which is more than any other city in our analysis. Also, its average broadband speeds are 82.7mbps, which is better than 65% of the other cities in our analysis with comparable data.
While it lags somewhat behind on its tech-driven job market (51st place), the city does still boast 49,818 tech job vacancies on the market right now — equivalent to 56 per 10,000 people who live there.
Based on 11 metrics, divided into three categories (tech infrastructure, green infrastructure, tech jobs market) equally weighted with a score out of 100, and combined towards one total score out of 100
Paris leads the way in technology and connectivity infrastructure
While Paris doesn’t score highest on any particular tech and connectivity metric, it scores steadily above average in most of them, meaning its well-rounded score puts it top of this category of our index.
More notable rankings for the French city include the 6th highest number of free public Wifi hotspots (10,663) in a boost to its internet connectivity capabilities, and the 4th highest number of ‘Internet of Things’ companies headquartered there (258).