S’pore takes top spot in ranking of smart city govts, praised for ‘sterling’ Covid-19 response, digital initiatives (Today Online)

Singapore has eclipsed London to take top spot in a biennial study that ranks the top 50 smart city governments in the world. 

The Republic took the honours due to factors such as its technology infrastructure, digital initiatives and its “sterling” response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the authors of the report noted that “there always remains more to be done”, such as in preventing the spread of Covid-19 among the migrant worker population. 

There have also been privacy concerns surrounding the technology used for TraceTogether — Singapore’s contact tracing system. 

The study, now in its second edition, was conducted by Singapore-based consulting firm Eden Strategy Institute, and the results were released on Wednesday (March 31). Singapore ranked second in the inaugural 2019 edition.

The rankings place an “explicit focus” on governments as key drivers of smart city development, the authors said. 

The top 50 cities were shortlisted from a list of 235 cities, using existing smart city rankings, news articles, websites and other media sources. 

The cities were then ranked based on 10 factors: Vision, leadership, budget, financial incentives, support programmes, talent readiness, people centricity, innovation ecosystems, smart policies and track record. 

The authors also looked at existing research on smart city plans, government press releases and third party publications, such as research papers, in assessing the cities.

In particular, each city’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic contributed significantly to their rankings in this edition, the authors said. 


The top 10 ranked cities are: 

Seoul, South Korea
London, United Kingdom
Barcelona, Spain
Helsinki, Finland
New York City, United States
Montreal, Canada
Shanghai, China
Vienna, Austria
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Singapore scored particularly well in terms of financial incentives, support programmes, talent readiness and innovation ecosystem. 

It had invested over US$1.7 billion (S$2.3 billion) in improving technology infrastructure and initiatives, and on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the authors noted.

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Today Online

31 March 2021

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