London’s smart, but not smart enough

dreamstime_xl_40134801Which is the smartest city in the world? Regrettably it’s not London. The accolade goes to Spain’s second city, Barcelona, with London coming in third according to the smart city rankings by research company Juniper.

A smart city is not one that has the snappiest dressers or cleverest folk, (maybe London would win there) but one that embraces digital technologies to improve its performance, sustainability and the well being of its citizens.

Juniper used a number of measures to draw up its rankings for 2015. It looked at smart grids for energy use, smart traffic and parking systems, smart street lighting, technological capability, social cohesion and the promotion of open data for citizens.

London and New York performed well across all these measures but Barcelona beat them to the top spot with a consistently above average performance. London excelled when it came to technological capacity and a willingness to engage through making much of the data it gathers open to anyone. But the capital fell short in environmentally positive projects, according to Jupiter.

The top five smart cities for 2015 are:

  1. Barcelona
  2. New York
  3. London
  4. Nice
  5. Singapore

The smart city concept is a growing phenomenon in urban development as city planners embrace emerging technologies and the Internet of Things to create systems which are more efficient, environmentally sustainable and improve the quality of life for the growing urban population. 54% of people globally live in urban environments and that is forecast to rise to 66% by 2050, according to the UN.

More and more people are moving to big cities. London’s population has gone up by 7% in the past 5 years to 8.6 million. Globally there are now 29 megacities with populations over 10 million. In 1990 there were just 10.

To see the London open data sources that were praised in these rankings go to http://data.london.gov.uk