Smart City Observatory

What makes a city livable and smart?

Smart City Observatory

What makes a city livable and smart?

Smart City Observatory

In 2017, our two institutions, IMD and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), decided to join forces to produce a smart city index offering a balanced focus on economic and technological aspects of smart cities on the one hand, and “humane dimensions” of smart cities (quality of life, environment, inclusiveness) on the other.

The initial effort to produce what should become an internationally recognized global smart city index consists of two distinct phases and deliverables.

First, a set of case studies of smart cities at different stages of development, providing a diverse international basis of experience, with the purpose of enhancing the realism and pertinence of the model underpinning the index to be proposed.

Sixteen Shades of Smart has been awarded the bronze medal in the Business Intelligence/Innovation category at the Axiom Book Awards.

Second, the first iteration of the index methodology was defined, leading to a global ranking of smart cities along that index in 2019. Now we are proud to present the third edition.

Meet the team
Professor Arturo Bris
Professor of Finance, Director of IMD World Competitiveness Center

An author and in-demand speaker, Arturo Bris (www.arturobris.org) ranks among the top 100 most read finance academics in the world. His research and consulting activities focus on the international aspects of financial regulation, and in particular on the effects of bankruptcy, short sales, insider trading, and merger laws.

Bruno Lanvin
President of the Smart City Observatory at IMD

Bruno Lanvin has been the President of the Smart City Observatory since its creation in 2018. He is known worldwide for his pioneering work in creating and co-leading some of the most highly praised global indices in the areas of information technology, innovation, and talent.

Smart City Index 2021

The third edition of the annual IMD-SUTD Smart City Index (SCI) has revealed that city-dwellers’ perceptions of how technology is helping to address urban challenges have been highly affected by the pandemic and its acceleration of digital transformation.

Taking the top three places were Singapore (1st), Zurich (2nd) and Oslo (3rd). Switzerland enjoyed three cities in the top 10 with Lausanne in 5th and Geneva in 8th place.

The Institute for Management Development, in collaboration with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), has released the 2021 Smart City Index, with key findings on how the rapid spread of COVID-19 among urban populations has led city leaders to face new responsibilities.

Hundreds of citizens from 118 cities were surveyed in July 2021 and asked questions on the technological provisions of their city across five key areas: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities, and governance.

Browse the full report

The pandemic has seen an acceleration of digital and ecological transformations in smart cities. This acceleration is redefining resilience, which is increasingly becoming a local objective. And cities that have been seen as handling COVID challenges in an efficient and effective way rank high in the report.

Bruno Lanvin President of the IMD Smart City Observatory, IMD, Switzlerand
Smart City Profiles

Extended profiles including all data in html and PDF

Related publications
City Performance by Rankings

Content of the ZIP: City Performance Overview – 118 cities by Rankings – 2021-2020 (PDF and jpg)

City Performance Alphabetical

Content of the ZIP: City Performance Overview – 118 cities alphabetical list – 2021-2020 (PDF and jpg)

Methodology used for the Smart City Index

This document introduces the methodology used by the IMD World Competitiveness Center and SUTD to develop the Smart City Index.

Smart cities need to be heading in a human-centric, digitally inclusive direction or the tech won’t pay off, panelists agree

Experts air views on Smart City policies since COVID-19, saying citizens’ needs take priority.

Sixteen Shades of Smart: How Cities Can Shape Their Own Future

Smart cities are a fast-growing species, and a fascinating field for new experiments in a number of critical areas.

Cities in a Time of Global Emergencies

Edited by Professor Arturo Bris, Christos Cabolis, Chan Heng Chee, and Bruno Lanvin.

This is the second volume of smart cities case studies published as a companion to the IMD-SUTD Smart City Index. It follows the award-winning ‘Sixteen Shades of Smart’, released in 2019.

Although the world is not out of the pandemic yet, important lessons have been learned from the ways in which cities (and smart cities in particular) have adopted innovative strategies to face the massive challenges of a health crisis. At the same time, citizens’ concerns about climate change and the environmental challenges stemming from rapid urbanization have continued to gather momentum around the world. Smart cities are places where the convergence is rapidly increasing between concerns for health on one hand and concerns about climate change on the other.

The ten case studies contained in ‘Cities in a time of global emergencies’ describe and analyze the experience and strategies of smart cities from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Some of them are just starting their smart city journey, while others have already gone through several versions of their strategy to respond to their citizens’ needs by becoming even smarter. The comparison of the approaches taken is a source of factual knowledge about the possible future of smart cities and casts a new light on what their options might be in the face of today’s and tomorrow’s emergencies.

Browse the abstract

Sixteen shades of Smart: How cities can shape their own future

Smart cities are a fast-growing species, and a fascinating field for new experiments in a number of critical areas, ranging from urban planning, sustainable energy, and transport strategies to social integration and talent attraction, to name a few. As leaders and citizens around the world continue to assess, design, implement and improve on ways to create better cities, they often find themselves confronted with a multitude of decisions and a wide range of partial solutions to specific problems such as traffic congestion, waste management and crime.

It includes 16 case studies, produced by the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities at SUTD (covering Asia and the Pacific) and the IMD World Competitiveness Center (covering other parts of the world). Producing these studies has yielded important lessons about how to enhance the value and uniqueness of our smart city index, as well as precious insights on how our two institutions can work together in a very synergistic way to produce unique insights.

Sixteen shades of Smart has been awarded the bronze medal in the Business Intelligence/Innovation category at the Axiom Book Awards.