Skip to content

The 10 Smartest Cities and What Made Them Succeed

With the rise in population of urban areas, there is a need for innovative solutions that are able to solve the problems related to this growth. Air pollution, increasing energy consumption, health risks, safety risks, and inefficient government services are some of the issues, cities might have to face when growing bigger and bigger. Many of these can be solved by modern technologies and concepts, which are incorporated in smart cities. In the following article, we want to share details of the 10 smartest cities in the world and what their critical success factors are. To rank them, we rely on the Smart City Index 2020 by IMD.

1. Singapore

Currently, Singapore is the number one city when it comes to the usage of smart technologies and concepts. They were able to achieve this by encouraging the use of public transport and shared mobility. Singapore also implemented digital identification, payment and governmental services, as well as improved healthcare and security concepts.

Singapore Skyline

2. Helsinki

Helsinki focuses on three main areas in order to become one of the smartest cities in the world: education, transparency, and less bureaucracy. They give more attention to areas of the city that are lagging behind and increase government spending to their benefit. Just as Singapore, they are also implementing a variety of digital services to make Helsinki more efficient.

3. Zurich

The largest city of Switzerland, in terms of its population, is currently ranked number 3. Zurich has the goal to maximize innovative smart city projects by subsidizing them. They have solutions in place that improve traffic and transportation, energy usage and waste management.

4. Auckland

Auckland has several innovative concepts in place that help make that one of the smartest cities in the world. They are increasing the usage of 5G networks in order to promote IoT solutions. Furthermore, they have a service that provides data on the environment such as water quality and also projects regarding autonomous transportation and smart security.

5. Oslo

The capital of Norway is also undertaking significant measures in order to make its city more efficient. A large focus lies on sustainability and especially reducing CO2 emissions. To do so, they promote public transport, clean construction and clean job offers. Oslo is able to realize these projects by having cooperations between businesses and public organizations.

6. Copenhagen

On place number 6, there is another Scandinavian capital – this time it lies in Denmark. Copenhagen has its aim to improve the quality of life by offering better air quality. Therefore they improve their public transportation and smart mobility. Also, Copenhagen is very active in the start-up scene and provides many incentives for businesses.

7. Geneva

Geneva is already the second city from Switzerland that is in the ranking of the top 10 smartest cities. They also want to decrease the environmental impact by utilizing IoT solutions. Geneva also wants to involve citizens more in decision making and promotes the interaction between businesses and the city.

geneva lake

8. Taipei City

In 2016, Tapei started its smart city initiative. The city is digitalizing a variety of government services to make them faster and more efficient. They also have a great focus on the implementation of new projects where Tapei runs a matchmaking platform that promotes new technologies.

9. Amsterdam

Amsterdam runs a regular challenge that tries to find the most innovative solutions and technologies for their smart city. They already implemented a variety of IoT projects, such as environmental, energy, and traffic data management. They also use smart street lighting to optimize efficiency.

10. New York City

On place number ten of this ranking, we find New York City. To become one of the smartest cities, they provided their citizens with central places that provide free internet connection, phone charging and wayfinding, called “LinkNYC”. Furthermore, New York also uses many IoT solutions to improve energy consumption, air quality and waste management.

new york city skyline


There is a lot that we could learn from taking a look at the smartest cities in the world. Some of the most successful use-cases seem to be related to smart mobility and traffic management, digitalization of government services, and environmental improvements. It will also be important to promote the startup scene related to smart cities to find and implement innovative ideas faster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *