We reveal the forward-thinking cities that are leading the way for the future.
Singapore has been named the world’s smartest city for the last two years, kicking London off the top spot. Since launching its Smart Nation initiative in 2014 the Asian city has introduced a wide range of new smart technologies in homes and businesses across the city. Contactless payment technology is now used widely across the city’s transport and movement systems. To help reduce the pressure of an ageing population the government introduced a digital health system which consisted of a wearable Internet of Things device used to monitor patients’ health. In 2021, Singapore introduced the development of a Smart City concept that would transform all aspects of the city from the water systems to a sustainable infrastructure, to urban planning and land use, education, smart buildings and tech parks and public safety. The government has since been working to ensure every aspect of the residents’ lives is governed by a smart element.
Helsinki has set itself many ambitious goals in terms of sustainability and modern living and they are on the way to achieving many of them. One of these was to become carbon neutral by 2035 as well as reduce traffic emissions by 69 per cent. By 2035 the city will have transitioned its public transport system to electric vehicles as well as expanding the Metro and electric car charging networks. The city is also focused on developing energy-efficiency measures in buildings which is particularly important in the winter months when temperatures drop and heating is essential. Sustainability and seamless travel are at the heart of Helsinki’s plans which will maximise technological advancements to draw out a roadmap for the future.
As one of the world’s busiest cities thinking smart has always been ingrained into the nature of New York, but as technology advances The Big Apple is looking for new ways to successfully lower its negative impact on the world and make life easier and smoother for its residents. The city has been working on several projects that are leading the world in smart living. In 2013 it introduced the Accelerated Conservation and Efficiency (ACE) programme which introduced LED lighting across buildings in the city and helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020 the city piloted its initial smart city programme which amassed and used data to help manage day-to-day services across the city more efficiently. The city has also seen the introduction of smart hubs and contactless technology as well as wifi capabilities across the city and online charging stations replacing phone booths. The city government is also encouraging car sharing to help reduce traffic in business areas as well as working on ways to reduce water wastage and lower bills for residents.
South Korea’s capital city is ahead of the game when it comes to technology and innovation. Seoul is home to Songdo, the world’s first smart city. The fully sustainable project was completed in 2015 and the processes and technologies for this have since been rolled out across the rest of the capital. Seoul uses an advanced data system to gather information and analyse urban patterns across the city including traffic floor, air quality, movement of people etc. this data is then used to apply smart infrastructure across the city. A safety system was also put into place to protect the city’s elderly residents. When no movement is detected for a long period emergency services and case workers are immediately alerted. Seoul is also looking into using the data platform to highlight crimes within the city.
The Swiss city of Zurich began its smart journey by introducing a series of energy-efficient streetlights that enable an energy saving of around 70 per cent. After this kicked things off the city started to think about how it could improve a number of its elements by installing innovative systems. This included advanced sensory technologies that collect environmental data to measure the flow of travel and act as a public WIFI antenna. Smart building management systems also allow for more environmentally-friendly living for residents. This system centrally connects the city’s heating, electricity and cooling systems to ensure they are not overused.
Amsterdam was one of the first developers of a smart project. Beginning in 2009 it featured more than 170 operations across the city. Amsterdam has always had a strong design to be innovative, as well as increase its sustainability measures. The two combine across the city in several ways ranging from renewable energy for homes and vehicles to installing solar-powered bus stops, as well as billboards, traffic signals and more. Thousands of businesses and buildings have been modified to use ultra-low energy LED lights as well as installing energy-efficient roofing insulation which is particularly helpful within the winter months. Amsterdam has always been known for its large number of cyclists but this has greatly increased over the past few years with many more areas becoming pedestrianised and the number of electric vehicles skyrocketing.