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.
Re: Shouldn't high pollution disqualify you? Mary, this reminds me of something that a few Chinese business partners said when we met recently. We happened to be driving from a site and passed by a beach resort. Eagerly, they asked if we could stop because they wanted to check out the view and maybe take a dip. They explained that they could no longer do the same in Shanghai because the waters were "black" already--that was what they said. It's pretty sad that moving forward in terms of economy and development, in a way, led to the degradation of their resources.
Re: Shouldn't high pollution disqualify you? Yes Susan, the point you are trying to make is absolutely thoughtful. But, I think Dr. Boyd Cohen, would have come to conclusion on such a list of cities based on years of research and he would have weighed the 'Pollution' factor appropriately.
Also, all the major bigger (now called 'Smarter' Cities) have this problem of Pollution. If you want to grow and be smart then you may have shell out atleast some part of the beauty you have. These are the cons of Urbanisation and I am afraid you may have to live with it.
Re: Shouldn't high pollution disqualify you? I totally understand your holistic approach to the rankings, Boyd. It makes sense to consider a whole bunch of factors -- smart qualities -- to determine a city's rating. I just wonder if "air quality" shouldn't have a greater weighting than the others because it's so fundamental to quality of life. The thing is, we don't have a choice about breathing. It effects absolutely every facet of existence.
But you rightly raise the question of where to draw the line. Aren't there accepted international air quality standards that could be a good guide?
Also, it would be interesting to see how Asia's top 10 smart cities compare to Europe's top 10. Are they comparable in levels of "smartness" or are there degrees of differences?
Re: Shouldn't high pollution disqualify you? Thank you for the feedback on the rankings. I agree that pollution is a major issue in Shanghai and in many cities around the globe. Note that in the discussion of Shanghai's ranking I concluded:
"Of course, like many Asian cities, Shanghai faces challenges including growing emission levels (nearly 10 tons of GHG/capita) and air pollution."
What minimum criteria should a city be required to meet in order to be ranked is a challenging question of course. If we made pollution one of the minimum criteria we'd also have to establish a baseline. It is certainly possible but that too would be controversial.
However, I would agree that all cities aspiring to become a smart city/future city must address key things like clean energy, public transit, cycling, open data, better use of ICT, etc. This is of course why I use the Smart Cities Wheel to take a holistic approach to measuring smart cities.
Re: Shouldn't high pollution disqualify you? I haven't been to Shanghai, but a friend spent a year abroad there recently and called home several times in the first month to say he was having a hard time breathing because the pollution was so bad. That seems pretty fundamental to quality of life.
Shanghai may have made great strides on the technology front and in other smart-city ways -- and that's all to be praised. But rather than address pollution at its core, the city seems to have simply pushed it onto other smaller cities and, according to this report in the International Business Times, the consequences for those regions have been severe.
Re: Wuxi Green City Hmmm.... Kudos to Wuxi for handling the pollution. But it did so only after some unjustified persecution of whistle blowers. And apparently the tactics didn't cut into pollution denial elsewhere in the country. I quote from the link you provided:
Instead of shunning the polluting companies in Wuxi, delegations from other parts of China have been coming to Wuxi to invite them to come to their cities.
Shouldn't high pollution disqualify you? Even though Shanghai is forging ahead in its smart-city status, shouldn't its high level of air pollution knock it out of the top 10? I know in recent years the government has been moving the largest polluters on the outskirts of the city to other locales where their toxic exhaust won't effect Shanghai's air quality. But that doesn't solve the problem, it just shifts it somewhere else. Not too smart, no?
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