In the interests of full disclosure, Singapore is the only city on this list I have had the opportunity to visit. I was impressed with numerous initiatives and smart/green implementations, from rainwater capture to the city's impressive, clean, and punctual transit system. Further, Singapore was the only city on this list to achieve a Top 5 ranking in all six components of the Smart Cities Wheel.
Singapore achieved top status in Asia in Citigroup's Hotspots report as well. As Citigroup summarized:
Singapore ranks third overall in the Index and is the highest-placed
Asian city. The city-state ranks particularly well in terms of its physical capital (ranked joint first overall), financial maturity (joint first), institutional effectiveness (6th), environment and natural hazards (joint 8th) and global appeal (4th). For locals, none of this will be surprising, given the city’s efficient transport, lean bureaucracy, safe and clean environment, and its increasingly highly regarded reputation internationally.
I have two primary concerns for Singapore going forward: First, the culture is conservative and encourages its brightest young people to join the multitudes of multinationals, which have created regional headquarters there. The culture is risk-averse and does not tolerate failure associated with entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, I believe all smart cities must strive to support thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems. The second concern I have relates to quality of life for all. While Singapore ranks relatively well in quality of life (25th globally and 3rd in this study), there are growing disparities between local, less-educated Singaporeans, and the expatriates who occupy most of the senior positions in all those multinationals.
Next page: 3. Seoul