See how innovative cities could serve as a blueprint

digital cities

Singapore's 'One Nation' Initiative and its position as a city-state makes it unique in its ability to execute its smart city vision. Its transformation, over the remarkably short time after its split from Malaysia, to the world's leading smart city, provides an example from which other cities can learn.

The positioning of the 5 US cities provides an interesting contrast. Overall, New York, San Francisco and Chicago were found to have a broader, more in-depth smart city vision and are further along in terms of execution. It is likely that pressures created by their standing as population-dense metro areas, alongside inherent talent in IT services, has spurred their smart city journey earlier.

Meanwhile, cities such as San Diego and Portland can be considered as close to the ‘tipping point’ where smart city solutions are sought after. This means that the bulk of projects have initially been geared to solving key pressing issues, such as urban mobility. Focus on developing innovation, such as through the release of open data for example, has received less attention.

According to a study cities in Asia and the Indian Subcontinent are able to rapidly execute their vision, particularly smaller cities. This is due to strong national support for smart cities in the face of tremendous urban population growth. These regions are often able to find a more cohesive vision for the development of their smart cities on account of a more top-down approach to the market. Juniper anticipates that a similar ranking in future would skew more in favour of these regions.

On a macro level, North American and West European cities are typically more advanced in terms of transparency as well as their openness in adopting processes that rely on inter-city best practices and learnings. This means that information regarding smart city projects and cities’ overall vision is far more readily available; meanwhile, these cities actively seek expertise from a wide range of actors, including third party entities and citizens themselves.

Cities in Far East & China on the other hand, are more opaque in terms of their approach. Additionally, these cities have to contend with a lower proportion of citizens who are connected and able to benefit from smart city services. This means that the impact of roll-outs is not yet as significant as in other regions; indeed, for many cities in the Indian Subcontinent as well as the Far East & China, emphasis is placed first on connecting citizens with a view to rolling out wider smart city solutions at a later point.