Abu Dhabi has been ranked 28th out of 118 cities in a global ranking of smart cities climbing 14 places from last year. The UAE capital city also led the Middle East region for the third consecutive year in the use of technology to improve the quality of life for residents.
Singapore, Zurich and Oslo ranked as the top three smart cities globally in the 2021 Smart City Index by the Institute for Management Development (IMD) and the Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD). This is the third edition of the IMD-SUTD Smart City Index report.
Taipei City and Lausanne rounded out the top five smart cities globally based on their citizens’ perceptions of how technology can improve their lives, as well as on economic and social data taken from the UN Human Development Index, according to the report, which polled 15,000 city dwellers in July.
The respondents were polled on how their respective cities are doing across five areas: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities and governance. They were also asked how technology is helping to address specific urban challenges.
About 54 percent of UAE residents expect Covid-19 to speed up the development of smart cities, a report by Mastercard, Smart Dubai and Expo 2020 revealed in March. Environmentally friendly business practices, paperless government services and fast, affordable, city-wide internet connectivity are some of the feature’s residents expect from a smart city, the report found.
Urban populations now attribute increasing importance to health and environmental-related dimensions of their cities after the onset of Covid-19, the IMD research found.
“Clearly, Covid has changed the ways in which leaders and citizens of smart cities view the challenges ahead,” Arturo Bris, IMD’s professor of finance, said. “Environmental emergencies will also remain very high on the agenda of smart cities.”
Environmental concerns are comparatively higher in richer cities, according to the Swiss academic institute.
Worldwide, the first concern for residents is access to affordable housing. However, access to better air quality and access to health services has become a greater priority in cities worldwide since the pandemic outbreak, the data found.