The IMD Smart City Index 2024, evaluating 142 cities globally, reveals Asian and European cities dominating the top 20. This analysis offers an in-depth overview of the report, highlighting key trends, challenges, and future directions for smart cities worldwide.

As urbanization accelerates globally, the concept of the “smart city” is evolving rapidly. A smart city leverages technology, data, and innovative infrastructure to improve the quality of life for its residents, enhance sustainability, and foster economic growth. In 2024, a new cohort of cities stands at the forefront of this urban transformation.

Top 20 Smart Cities

Smart City Initiatives Around The World

Algeria Denmark Israel Nigeria Spain
Argentina Egypt Italy Norway Sweden
Australia Estonia Japan Oman Switzerland
Austria Finland Jordan Pakistan Taiwan
Belgium France Kenya Peru Thailand
Brazil Germany Korea, South Philippines Tunisia
Bulgaria Ghana Latvia Poland Turkey
Canada Greece Lebanon Portugal United Arab Emirates
Chile Guatemala Lithuania Qatar United Kingdom
China Hong Kong Luxembourg Romania USA
Colombia Hungary Malaysia Saudi Arabia Vietnam
Costa Rica Iceland Mexico Singapore Yemen
Croatia India Morocco Slovakia
Cyprus Indonesia Netherlands Slovenia
Czech Rep. Ireland New Zealand South Africa

Key Findings

  • Dominance of Asian and European Cities: The top 20 cities are primarily located in Asia and Europe, with a notable absence of North American cities.
  • Decline of North American Cities: Several U.S. and Canadian cities have dropped in rankings, particularly in infrastructure and safety, while European cities have seen improvements in overall quality of life.
  • Consistent Top Performers: A group of 12 “SCI (Smart City Index) champions” have maintained high rankings since 2019, divided into “super-champions” (currently in the top 20) and “fast-moving contenders” (ranked between 20 and 35).
  • Characteristics of Champions: These cities often have predictable social and economic environments, prioritize citizen well-being through initiatives like public transportation and green spaces, and focus on attracting talent, sustainable investments, and addressing inequalities.
  • Future Readiness in Uncertain Times: Cities are adapting to growing uncertainties by focusing on resilience and identifying existing strengths, aligning with emerging trends (sustainability, inclusion, digital), and addressing digital divides.
  • Digital Transformation and Inclusion: The report highlights the increasing importance of digital transformation in cities, with the rise of artificial intelligence in municipal services. Trust and governance are crucial for ensuring future-ready and human-centric cities. The challenge of combining inclusion and digitalization is emphasized, particularly in smart cities, with a focus on not leaving vulnerable groups behind.
  • Additional Insights:
    • Taipei City’s significant rise into the top 20 is noteworthy.
    • The report suggests that cities with predictable environments and a focus on quality of life tend to perform well.
    • The absence of North American cities in the top 20 raises questions about their approaches to smart city development.
    • The emphasis on future readiness and addressing digital divides highlights the evolving challenges and opportunities for cities in a rapidly changing world.

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Top 20 Smart Cities in Detail

Zurich, Switzerland

Known for its robust digital infrastructure, efficient public transportation, and commitment to renewable energy.

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Smart Mobility: The city’s intelligent traffic management system optimizes traffic flow in real time, reducing congestion and emissions.

Energy Efficiency: Zurich is implementing smart grid technology to monitor and manage energy consumption, promoting energy conservation.

Digital Services: The city offers a wide range of digital services, including online permits, e-voting, and a comprehensive city information platform.

Oslo, Norway

Leads in sustainable transportation, green spaces, and citizen engagement initiatives.

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Sustainable Transportation: Oslo has ambitious plans to become a car-free city center by 2030, investing in electric buses and expanding cycling infrastructure.

Climate Action: The city is a pioneer in green building standards and renewable energy initiatives.

Citizen Engagement: Oslo uses digital platforms to gather citizen input on urban planning decisions, fostering transparency and inclusivity.

Canberra, Australia

Boasts advanced digital services, a focus on renewable energy, and a high quality of life.

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Data-Driven Governance: Canberra uses data analytics to improve decision-making in areas like traffic management, waste collection, and public safety.

Smart Street Lighting: The city is deploying energy-efficient LED streetlights that can be dimmed or brightened based on real-time needs.

Digital Health: Canberra is investing in telehealth solutions to improve access to healthcare services for residents.

Geneva, Switzerland

Excels in healthcare, education, and international cooperation.

International Collaboration: Geneva leverages its position as a global hub for diplomacy and international organizations to foster collaboration on smart city solutions.

Smart Water Management: The city uses sensors and data analytics to monitor water quality and detect leaks, conserving this precious resource.

Public Safety: Geneva has implemented a sophisticated video surveillance system and predictive policing tools to enhance public safety.


A global leader in technological innovation, infrastructure development, and efficient governance.

Smart Nation Initiative: This comprehensive national program aims to transform Singapore into a leading smart city through technology, innovation, and data-driven governance.

Sensor Network: A vast network of sensors collects data on everything from air quality to traffic flow, providing valuable insights for decision-makers.

Virtual Singapore: A 3D digital model of the city is used for urban planning, disaster management simulations, and citizen engagement.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Renowned for its cycling infrastructure, sustainable urban planning, and focus on social cohesion.

Cycling City: Copenhagen is world-renowned for its extensive cycling infrastructure, including dedicated bike lanes, bridges, and traffic signals.

District Heating: A district heating system provides energy-efficient heating to a large portion of the city.

Urban Living Labs: The city partners with businesses and universities to test innovative smart city solutions in real-world environments.

Lausanne, Switzerland

A hub for research and innovation, with a strong focus on sustainable development.

Smart Parking: Lausanne uses sensors and mobile apps to help drivers find available parking spaces, reducing traffic congestion.

Energy Management: The city has implemented a smart energy management system for public buildings, optimizing energy consumption and reducing costs.

Open Data: Lausanne makes a wide range of city data publicly available, encouraging innovation and transparency.

London, UK

A global financial center with extensive public transportation, cultural diversity, and a thriving tech scene.

Congestion Charging: A congestion charge zone in central London has helped to reduce traffic and improve air quality.

Contactless Payment: The city’s public transportation system is integrated with contactless payment technology, making it easy and convenient to use.

Smart City Data: London has created a platform for collecting and sharing smart city data, promoting collaboration and innovation.

Helsinki, Finland

Prioritizes citizen well-being, digital services, and open data initiatives.

MyData: This initiative gives citizens control over their personal data, allowing them to decide how it is used by businesses and government agencies.

Forum Virium Helsinki: This innovation company works with the city to develop and test new smart city solutions.

Smart Mobility: Helsinki is investing in autonomous vehicles, electric buses, and smart traffic management systems.

Abu Dhabi, UAE:

Invests heavily in renewable energy, technological infrastructure, and cultural institutions.

Masdar City: This planned city is designed to be a model of sustainability, with zero-carbon emissions and zero waste.

Smart Transportation: Abu Dhabi is developing a network of autonomous vehicles and a high-speed hyperloop system.

Artificial Intelligence: The city is using AI to improve government services, healthcare, and education.

Stockholm, Sweden:

A leader in sustainability, public transportation, and social innovation.

Royal Seaport: This district is a living lab for sustainable urban development, featuring smart grids, renewable energy sources, and green building practices.

Smart Waste Management: Stockholm uses underground pneumatic tubes to transport waste, reducing truck traffic and emissions.

Citizen Engagement: The city actively involves residents in urban planning and decision-making processes through digital platforms and public consultations.

Dubai, UAE:

Known for its ambitious infrastructure projects, smart services, and luxury lifestyle.

Smart Dubai: This initiative aims to transform Dubai into the happiest city on Earth through technology and innovation.

Blockchain Strategy: Dubai is implementing blockchain technology to streamline government services, enhance security, and reduce costs.

3D Printing: The city is exploring the use of 3D printing for construction, potentially revolutionizing the building industry.

Beijing, China:

A global economic powerhouse investing in smart city technology and sustainable development.

Smart City Brain: This AI-powered platform integrates data from various sources to improve urban management, including traffic flow, public safety, and environmental monitoring.

Digital Yuan: Beijing is piloting a central bank digital currency (CBDC) to modernize its financial system and improve transaction efficiency.

Smart Transportation: The city is expanding its subway network, deploying electric buses, and testing autonomous vehicles.

Hamburg, Germany:

A major port city with a focus on renewable energy, green spaces, and sustainable mobility.

SmartPORT Energy: This project aims to make the Port of Hamburg a model for sustainable energy use through the integration of renewable sources and smart grid technology.

ITS World Congress: Hamburg hosted the ITS World Congress in 2021, showcasing the latest advancements in intelligent transportation systems.

Green Roof Strategy: The city promotes the installation of green roofs on buildings to improve air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, and enhance biodiversity.

Prague, Czech Republic:

Offers a high quality of life, historic charm, and a growing tech scene.

Smart Prague: This initiative focuses on improving the quality of life for residents through digital services, smart infrastructure, and citizen engagement.

Open Data: Prague provides a wealth of city data to the public, fostering transparency and empowering citizens to create innovative solutions.

Smart Tourism: The city is developing a smart tourism platform that provides personalized recommendations and real-time information to visitors.

Taipei City, Taiwan:

A tech-savvy city with efficient public transportation and a focus on citizen engagement.

Smart Healthcare: Taipei is using telemedicine, wearable devices, and AI-powered diagnostics to improve healthcare delivery and disease prevention.
Smart Education: The city is integrating technology into classrooms, providing students with access to digital resources and personalized learning experiences.
Smart Governance: Taipei uses data analytics to monitor public opinion, identify emerging trends, and make informed policy decisions.

Seoul, South Korea:

A global leader in technological innovation, digital infrastructure, and smart governance.

U-City: This comprehensive smart city platform integrates various systems for transportation, energy, environment, and public safety.

Smart Transportation Card: The T-money card is a multi-purpose smart card that can be used for public transportation, shopping, and other services.

Digital Twin: Seoul has created a digital replica of the city that is used for urban planning, disaster response, and citizen engagement.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Renowned for its cycling culture, canal system, and sustainable urban planning.

Amsterdam Smart City: This initiative focuses on sustainable urban development, circular economy principles, and citizen participation.

Smart Mobility: Amsterdam is a leader in cycling infrastructure, electric vehicle adoption, and smart traffic management.

Energy Transition: The city aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 through the use of renewable energy sources and energy-efficient buildings.

Shanghai, China

A global financial hub investing heavily in smart city technology and infrastructure.

One City, One Cloud: This platform integrates data from various government agencies and departments to improve efficiency and service delivery.

City Brain: Shanghai is using AI and big data to optimize traffic flow, monitor public safety, and manage energy consumption.

Smart Healthcare: The city is piloting telemedicine and AI-powered diagnostics to improve access to healthcare and reduce costs.

Hong Kong:

A bustling metropolis with efficient public transportation, advanced technology, and a vibrant cultural scene.

Smart City Blueprint: This roadmap outlines the city’s vision for a smart future, focusing on innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity.

Smart Lampposts: Hong Kong is installing smart lampposts equipped with sensors, cameras, and Wi-Fi hotspots to collect data and provide various services.

Digital Twin: The city is developing a digital twin to simulate and optimize various aspects of urban life, such as traffic flow and energy consumption.

Smart City Initiatives Around The World

(In Alphabetical Order)

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The top 20 smart cities of 2024 represent a diverse group of urban centers, each with unique strengths and approaches to smart city development. They serve as models for other cities seeking to leverage technology, data, and innovation to create more sustainable, livable, and prosperous urban environments.


  • IMD Smart City Index 2024
  • IESE Cities in Motion Index 2024