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Singapore Named Smartest Global City for Third Year Running

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According to this year’s Smart City Index, Singapore is the smartest city in the world for the third year running. A “smart city” is an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanisation for its citizens. The Smart City Index takes into account input from the cities’ residents of how technology had improved their lives. About 120 residents from each city were surveyed in July this year.

The report also noted that the pandemic highlighted the innovative potential of smart cities to sometimes better address certain challenges — such as organising the distribution of protective equipment, the use of medical facilities and vaccination campaigns — compared to central governments. Strong tech cultures and digital infrastructure helped efforts throughout the pandemic, especially with contact tracing.

Singapore’s achievement is largely due to the policies it pursued at both the city and national level – particularly in e-government services, education and human-centric urban strategies. Its higher degree of social cohesion was also a factor, as well as the availability of digital facilities, typically apps that allowed the close monitoring of how the virus was circulating. But it is still too early to infer from the findings how the pandemic had impacted the survey participants in Singapore.

– Dr Bruno Lanvin, President, IMD Smart City Observatory

Moreover, Singaporeans are able to address challenges related to health, safety, or mobility easily and effectively. Singapore has strong institutions and its residents appreciate the opportunities with respect to work and school available for them. An important reason for success is also the high degree of social cohesion that characterises the city-state.

Participants in each city were asked questions on their ideas of existing infrastructure and technological provisions and services available to them. These were broken down into five key areas: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities, and governance.

Survey participants were also asked to select five out of 15 priority areas, such as affordable housing or health services, for their city. Other questions posed to the residents included how they feel whether the availability of online information has increased their trust in authorities.

For this year’s rankings, the final score for each city was computed using the answers from residents surveyed this year and in the past two years, with the most weight given to recent replies and the least to those recorded in 2019.

The rankings also take into account economic and social data taken from the UN Development Index, which ranks countries based on health, education and living standards. The team behind this year’s Smart City Index said the findings showed that the top concern worldwide is access to affordable housing. But access to better air quality and health services has become a greater priority in cities worldwide since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, as a global forerunner in smart city initiatives, Singapore believes that technological disruption is a global force to be both confronted and harnessed. This is what drives its Smart Nation ambitions, aimed at transitioning the nation to the next industrial phase.

To achieve that goal requires Singapore to match its smart city ambitions with scalable, beneficial real-world outcomes that embody the city-state with a high level of hyperconnected maturity. The COVID-19 pandemic will not be the only challenge Singapore will face and hence being hyperconnected will set it on the path towards becoming a truly sustainable and smart nation.

Singapore itself is classified as a leader in hyperconnected maturity and has even been dubbed the ‘smartest city in the world’, due in no small part to the proactive innovation measures its government and businesses have been taking in line with Smart Nation efforts.

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