The World’s Smartest & Most Efficient Cities Have Been Ranked (And Switzerland Takes The Crown)
— 14 April 2023

The World’s Smartest & Most Efficient Cities Have Been Ranked (And Switzerland Takes The Crown)

— 14 April 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

If you live in a relentlessly modern city like Sydney or Tokyo, then it can be difficult to properly grasp just how not-smart a lot of other cities around the world are. Nowhere is made equal and the world’s best cities differ greatly when it comes to efficiency and effectiveness. This is something the 2023 Smart City Index by IMD is getting at, examining and ranking cities based on how “smart” they are.

Smart doesn’t mean the percentage of a city’s population that is highly educated. In this context, smart means how effectively a city has used technology to address various programs and improve quality of life. This balanced set of metrics, focusing primarily on economic and technological aspects, was applied to more than 141 cities around the world.

The Smart City Index surveyed around 20,000 people across these cities, asking them 15 very specific questions related to their daily life such as what issues they think are the most pressing in their city and how comfortable they are with technology in their lives. The data was then used to order cities based on their smarts.

RELATED: Canberra Has Been Voted The Best City For Quality Sleep

“Out of the top 20 [there were] six cities that have been continuously improving their performance since 2019,” reads the official Smart City Index website.

“These so-called super-champions in the Index’s report are Zurich, Oslo, Singapore, Bejing, Seoul and Hong Kong.”

“The 2023 findings also demonstrate the increasing ‘smartness’ of second-tier cities such as Montreal, Denver, Lausanne, Bilbao, Bengaluru, Brisbane, Busan, Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai.”

On the local front, the biggest surprise is that Canberra comes in at #3 after Oslo at #2 and Zurich in the top spot. Meanwhile, Sydney is found all the way down the rankings at #18. Although this isn’t too much of a surprise. Our nation’s capital is much smaller and, from an urban planning standpoint, so much easier to navigate so would typically have fewer issues to solve.

Interestingly enough, Sydney actually scored its highest place since the Index began. According to the Index, 80% of Sydney locals said affordable housing was the city’s biggest area of concern while 61.1% said that they were fine with personal data being used to help with issues like traffic congestion.

I think it’s safe to conclude that, as far as this survey goes, Switzerland is the smartest country in the world by these metrics. Zurich, Lausanne and Geneva make the top 10, while only a few other countries – UAE, Australia and Germany – have had two cities make the top 20.

Here is the top 20 of the Smart City Index 2023. For the full list head to this website and scroll down until you see “2023 results table” – download that and you’ll be able to see all the smart cities ranked.

20 Smartest Cities In The World

  1. Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Oslo, Norway
  3. Canberra, Australia
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Lausanne, Switzerland
  6. London, United Kingdom
  7. Singapore
  8. Helsinki, Finland
  9. Geneva, Switzerland
  10. Stockholm, Sweden
  11. Hamburg, Germany
  12. Bejing, China
  13. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  14. Prague, Czech Republic
  15. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  16. Seoul, South Korea
  17. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  18. Sydney, Australia
  19. Hong Kong
  20. Munich, Germany

The bottom five, if you were wondering, is as follows:

Tunis, Tunisia
Accra, Ghana
Beirut, Lebanon
Sana’a, Yemen
Guatemala City, Guatemala

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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