Swedish company ProptechOS has published a smart city index to reveal which major cities in Europe and the US are best equipped for a smart future. Find out more about the results here.
Measuring the smartness of cities
According to the Swedish company ProptechOS, a software company providing operating systems for real estate, technology is developing faster than ever before. This leads to the question whether our cities are keeping up. To find out, ProptechOS has collated and aggregated metrics to paint a picture of how smart cities in Europe and the US really are. Based on data from the company’s cloud solutions and cooperating proptech apps, ProptechOS published the following results.
Importantly, new technology can only be as useful as the infrastructure and environment in cities can facilitate the use of this technology. That means that artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and other technological innovations only work in cities with an appropriate digital infrastructure. This infrastructure therefore determines the “smartness” of a city.
To measure the smartness of a city, ProptechOS has developed these measurements:
- Tech Infrastructure and Connectivity:
- Free Wi-Fi hotspots
- Broadband download speeds
- Availability of airports
- Number of IoT companies (in total and per 100,000 of the population)
- Number of 5G network towers
- Green Infrastructure:
- The number of public-access electric vehicle charging points
- The number of public access electric vehicle charging points per 10,000 of the population
- Amount of ‘green certified’ buildings
- Tech-Driven Job Market:
- The number of tech jobs
- The number of tech jobs per 10,000 of the population
The highest-ranking cities
By taking these indicators into equally weighted consideration, ProptechOS has determined which cities are best prepared for a smarter future. In the United States, Austin in Texas is the highest-ranking city. The city’s scores highly in technology infrastructure (87.7 out of 100) and green infrastructure (91.7 out of 100). It also has the 8th highest number of publicly accessible EV charging stations among all compared cities.
Other high-ranking cities in the US are Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas, and New York City.
In Europe, smart cities score lower averages than US cities in smart city potential. However, two of them are among the best-performing cities in the analysis by the company. According to ProptechOS, the highest-ranking cities in Europe are London and Amsterdam. London is the top European city in terms of smart city potential. It scores particularly high with its technology and connectivity infrastructure, and with its green infrastructure. London has nine 5G towers installed, more than any other city in the analysis. It lags behind on the tech-driven job market, but still offers many tech job vacancies.
Other high-ranking cities in Europe are Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Lisbon, Oslo, and Budapest. Dublin, Madrid, and Helsinki also make it into the top 10.
Paris and London as examples in Europe
Paris is another interesting case for smart city potential. While the French capital doesn’t score the highest in any particular metric, it steadily scores above average in most categories. This means that the city has a well-rounded score. It offers one of the highest numbers of free public Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as of Internet of Things companies with a headquarters in Paris.
According to ProptechOS’s research, Paris and London are the important European cities to look out for when it comes to smart city potential. While this doesn’t mean that they are the smartest cities on the continent, it does show their readiness. London in particular is performing very well with its number of EV chargers – 2,600 of them are publicly available. The British capital also has the highest number of green certified buildings (almost 5,000).
The methodology of the report on smart city potential
To analyse the potential of smart cities in Europe and the US, ProptechOS began with a seed list of 100 cities from Europe and the US. This list consisted of capital cities and most populated cities. Originally, the company considered 18 indicators related to the OECD’s recommendations for smart cities. In the final ranking of indicators, the company narrowed them down to ensure like-for-like comparisons between cities.
Each metric was scored and normalised out of 100. It is equally weighted to a score of 100 for the parent categories. This allowed a final overall score per city that was easily comparable to other cities. While the smart city potential index is missing Asian, African, and Australian cities, it provides an interesting insight into the state of several key indicators in many cities.