Analyst firm Juniper Research has ranked Shanghai as the world’s number one smart city for 2022.
It is followed by Seoul, Barcelona, Beijing, and New York in the top five.
Juniper’s ranking of 50 world cities is based on an evaluation of various aspects of smart cities, including transportation, infrastructure, energy and lighting, city management and technology, and urban connectivity.
“Many cities have deployed technology and data to help local authorities reduce environmental impact and energy usage,” said research co-author Mike Bainbridge. “The top cities in our recent ranking are finding innovative ways to leverage that technology to deliver observable benefits for their citizens as well.”
The research particularly praises Shanghai’s Citizen Cloud, a one-stop data platform for over 1,200 resident services, including those related to birth and marriage, culture and education, tourism, social security, transportation, health, legal services, and senior care.
According to Juniper Research, the Citizen Cloud app is the preferred way to contact the Shanghai city government about a myriad of issues, although there is also a one-number call centre which removes the need for citizens to find out which service or department to ring.
The report states: “This type of development is typical of smart cities around the world like Los Angeles, Chicago and Barcelona. Governments are keen to democratise the data they hold and deliver transparency to their citizens, make them more involved in decision-making and generally empower them to help themselves in their day-to-day lives.
“Obviously, the culture and the governance in place has a big impact on how these citizen platforms will develop further.”
In November 2020, Shanghai won the World Smart City Award at Smart City Expo World Congress for its ‘Smart Shanghai – People-Oriented Smart City’ digital infrastructure project, which achieved full 5G coverage in the downtown area and fibre coverage across 99 percent of the city.
Smart city spending to double
The research also forecasts that smart city initiatives will generate almost US$70 billion in spending annually by 2026, up from US$35 billion in 2021.
Source: Juniper Research
Much of this is expected to focus on smart grid initiatives, which Juniper estimates will save over 1,000 TWh of electricity in 2026 – equivalent to more than five years of energy consumption by Greater London at present levels.
Many areas of smart city development are still in their early stages, particularly outside the leading cities, so initial roll-outs still make up much of the market. Juniper Research notes that this means savings made through smart city technologies will remain high. The analysts expect energy savings alone to reach US$96 billion in 2026, “making their deployment highly cost-effective in most instances”.
Image: Daryl DeHart (Flickr)
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