The administrations that had already started radical innovation processes in the past years are the ones showing the best results today
The digital transformation of Italian cities continues: Florence, Milan and Bologna, which already achieved the best results in past years, are confirmed at the top of the ICity Rank, followed by Roma Capitale, Modena, Bergamo, Turin, Trento, Cagliari and Parma. In the first places, therefore, the North and the big cities, but with some exceptions. Here is the full report ICity Rank 2021 by FPA, presented at FORUM PA Città.
ICity Rank 2021: the results
The experience of the pandemic in 2020 has pushed the digital transformation of Italian cities in a generalized way, but it is the administrations that in past years had already initiated radical innovation processes that today show the best results. In 2021 Florence is confirmed as the most digital capital of Italy for the second consecutive year, followed by Milan (in second place) and Bologna (in third), with Roma Capitale, Modena, Bergamo (tied in fourth place), Turin, Trento, Cagliari, Parma to close the top ten.
These are the results of ICity Rank 2021, the survey on the digitization of Italian cities by FPA, a company of the DIGITAL360 group, presented this morning at FORUM PA Città. The research evaluates the positioning of the provincial capitals in the digital transformation index, obtained from the arithmetic average of 8 sectoral indices (online availability of public services, availability of apps of public utility, integration of digital platforms, use of social media, release of open data, transparency, implementation of public wifi networks and dissemination of network technologies), the result of the synthesis of 36 indicators based on 130 variables and about 14,000 elementary data almost entirely the result of FPA surveys carried out in the current year.
Immediately after the top ten cities, we find in the ranking a series of municipalities - Reggio Emilia, Palermo, Venice, Pisa, Genoa, Rimini, Brescia, Cremona, Prato, Bari, Bolzano and Verona - which stand out for having obtained good results and positioning in all the sectoral indices covered by the research.
This "system innovation" is the element that identifies "digital cities", as Gianni Dominici, Director General of FPA underlines: "The first 22 cities in the ranking are 'digital cities', those that use in a widespread, organic way and continuous use of new technologies in administrative activities, in the provision of services, in the collection and processing of data, in information, communication and participation. They are cities that can become a 'platform', creating the conditions for the economic and social development of their territories thanks to digital technology. In the most advanced group, there are mainly large cities in the North, but there are also small exceptions, such as Pisa or Cremona, and some cities in the South, such as Cagliari, Palermo or Bari, which demonstrate how skilful use of digital can modify traditional geographies of innovation ".
After the first 22 cities, we find an intermediate band in which the majority of Italian capitals are located, cities that alternate high or low positions depending on the sector: here we find Pavia (23rd place), Siena (24th), Piacenza (25th °), Naples (26 °), Lecce (27 °), Vicenza (28 °), Padua (29 °), Ravenna (30 °) and gradually about 60 cities "in evolution" in the digital transformation path, which is plausible that they can improve performance with relative ease. On the other hand, there are about twenty capitals lagging behind in almost all indicators: Caltanissetta (88th place), Potenza (89th), Fermo and Teramo (90th), Chieti (93th), Catanzaro (94) close the ranking °), Crotone and Benevento (95 °), Cosenza and Rieti (97 °), Trapani (99 °), Caserta (100 °), Nuoro (101 °), Foggia (102 °), Agrigento (103 °), Avellino (104th), Carbonia (105th), Isernia (106th) and the black jersey Enna at 107th.
“We are entering the phase of implementation of the PNRR which has defined a strategic vision of the future based on digital transformation, and in this phase, the role of urban realities will be fundamental - says Andrea Rangone, President of DIGITAL360 -. Cities today are the gateways for the active, autonomous and responsible participation of citizens and businesses, at a time when the maximum involvement of all is needed. The most innovative realities must be enabled to make the most of their abilities, while the most static must be supported to reactivate their capacity for innovation ".
After the digital acceleration resulting from the pandemic, 2021 was a year of adjustment but marked by important phenomena such as the spread of the APP IO and SPID or the activation of ANPR services. This situation has led to a polarization: on the one hand, cities have continued.
The podium of ICity Rank 2021 confirms the same cities as last year, even if Milan takes away second place from Bologna. Leading the way is Florence, in the lead with 937 points in the digital transformation index, boasting excellent results especially in the field of open data, wifi, IoT and network technologies and municipal apps, where it gets top marks. Milan is second with a score of 878, highlighting strengths in particular in open data, online services, and the "openness" index. Bologna is third with 854 points, thanks above all to the results in social networks and in the IoT and network technologies. Behind it, however, we find a group of cities with values very close to the first three: the metropolitan capitals Roma Capitale and Turin flanked by intermediate cities such as Modena and Bergamo, increasingly protagonists of 360-degree innovation processes. Trento is confirmed eighth, followed by Cagliari in 9th place, the first city in the South.
The southern capitals show a delay in digital transformation, placing themselves more frequently in the low end of the rankings. Comparing the average score of the cities of the South with the national one, we see an overall difference of about 25%, which exceeds 40% in areas such as open data and public wifi networks. But something is also moving in the South: in addition to Cagliari in 9th place, we find Palermo in 12th, with full marks in the field of Open Data, like Milan and Pisa, and in an excellent position in the sectoral rankings concerning opening and online services. And at 20th in the general classification, there is Bari, which excels above all in opening and online services. Also noteworthy is the recovery of Naples, 26th place, which climbs 11 positions thanks to the highest marks in the municipal apps and the good placement in social networks, and of Messina, which passes from 89th place in 2020 to the current 62nd, climbing of nearly 30 positions.
The retardo of the picoli
Among the top 22 cities in the ranking, 10 are metropolitan cities and in general, the size seems to affect the overall performance. The capitals with less than 50,000 inhabitants have an overall difference of 25% compared to the national average. For the little ones, the average delay is significant especially in open data, while the performances are better in the use of social networks and in the spread of wifi networks. In some areas, however, there are some excellent results of medium-sized companies, such as the first place obtained by Pisa in enabling platforms, by Cremona in online services or by Bolzano in IoT and network technologies.