3 min reading

13 December 2023

13 December 2023

Exploring 2023’s Top Smart Cities and Trends

Exploring 2023’s Top Smart Cities and Trends
Exploring 2023’s Top Smart Cities and Trends

Smart cities are a booming trend around the globe as urban centers embrace technology to improve the quality of life for residents. These cities leverage smart connectivity to optimize numerous aspects of urbanism, e.g., transportation, energy consumption, and public safety.

The IMD Smart City Index 2023 provides a comprehensive evaluation of the world’s smartest cities, using various criteria to determine which ones are leading the way in terms of innovation and development.

Let’s explore the concept of smart cities, examine the technology driving their rise, highlight current trends, and showcase the top-ranked examples worldwide.

What are Smart Cities?

The term “smart cities” refers to urban areas that benefit from advanced technologies to enhance sustainability and foster economic growth. These cities utilize data-based approaches and innovative solutions to tackle challenges such as traffic congestion, air pollution, energy efficiency, and waste management. By adopting smart solutions, cities can optimize resource allocation, enhance citizen engagement, and create a more connected environment.

Smart City Technologies

Several technologies drive the development of smart cities, enabling them to collect, analyze, and utilize data effectively. One of them is LoRaWAN®, a low-power, wide-area network protocol optimized for the Internet of Things (IoT).

LoRaWAN® empowers long-range, low-cost communication between devices, making it ideal for smart city applications. This allows smart sensors and devices to transmit data over large distances. It facilitates real-time monitoring and management of things like infrastructure and environmental conditions.

Criteria for Ranking Smart Cities

IMD evaluates cities based on multiple criteria to provide a holistic assessment of their capabilities. These include health and safety, mobility, activities, work and school opportunities, governance, etc.

Health and Safety

Cities are assessed based on factors like healthcare infrastructure, emergency response systems, crime rates, and overall safety measures. The ability of a city to ensure the well-being and security of its citizens is a vital aspect of its smart status.


Efficient transportation systems, including public transportation networks, smart traffic management, and sustainable mobility options, contribute to the mobility ranking criteria. Smart solutions reduce congestion and emissions while enhancing accessibility and connectivity.


The availability of cultural, recreational, and entertainment activities plays a significant role in determining a city’s liveability. Public spaces, parks, museums, theatres, and access to sports facilities enable a vibrant and well-rounded urban experience.

Opportunities (Work and School)

Cities that offer diverse jobs, a robust education system, and a nurturing environment for entrepreneurship rank higher in terms of opportunities. They strive to create an ecosystem that promotes economy and educational excellence.


Transparent and efficient local governance structures, digitalization of government services, citizen participation, and the use of data-driven decision-making processes are key factors in evaluating the governance aspect of a smart city project.

Other Things to Mention

IMD adopts a comprehensive methodology that leverages both quantitative and qualitative data. This ensures a fair and accurate ranking, considering factors such as data availability, data quality, and survey responses from officials and simply residents. The index presents a valuable tool for benchmarking and tracking the progress of cities over time.

Current Trends Identified

There are a few trends that shape the landscape of smart cities today. Here comes the dominance of Asia and Europe in the top rankings, the strong performance of “second tier” cities, the transformation of smart city strategies, and the emphasis on inclusion and diversity as key benchmarks for success.

Asia and Europe Leading the Way

Asia and Europe continue to dominate IMD’s rankings. Cities from these two regions demonstrate exceptional results in various dimensions. Their focus on sustainable development, technological innovation, and citizen-centred services makes them leaders in the smart city movement.

Surprising Excellence Among “Second Tier” Cities

Interestingly, many cities classified as “second tier” are outperforming larger cities in the IMD index. These cities offer unique strengths, such as cultural richness, affordability, and quality of life, making them attractive for residents and businesses. They showcase the possibility for smaller cities to thrive.

Profound Changes in Smart City Strategies

The evolving nature of smart city strategies is evident. Cities are transitioning from isolated projects to comprehensive and integrated approaches. Collaborations between governments, private sector stakeholders, and citizens are becoming critical for impactful smart city initiatives.

Inclusion and Diversity as Fundamental Metrics

Diversity and inclusion emerge as primary benchmarks for the performance of smart cities. The index highlights the importance of addressing social inequality, accessibility, and digital divide issues. Smart cities that prioritize inclusivity and ensure that all segments of society benefit from technological advancements are positioned for long-term prospects.

Top-Ranked Smart Cities

#1 Zurich

Zurich secures the top spot by succeeding in multiple dimensions. It boasts a highly developed infrastructure, efficient transportation systems, and excellent healthcare services. Zurich’s commitment to sustainability and quality of life makes this unparalleled performance a reality.

#2 Oslo

Oslo ranks second in the IMD Smart City Index due to its strong emphasis on sustainability and resilience. Its advanced transportation systems, proactive climate policies, and focus on eco-friendly energy sources make it a distinguished performer in the smart city arena.

#3 Canberra

Canberra proves its leadership in governance and citizen involvement, earning the third position. Effective digital services, participation platforms, and data-powered decision-making of Australia’s capital demonstrate its dedication to creating a citizen-centric smart city.

#4 Copenhagen

Copenhagen stands out for its exemplary mobility solutions and sustainable urban planning development. The extensive cycling infrastructure, effective public transportation network, and orientation towards renewable energy back up this city’s high ranking.

#5 Lausanne

Lausanne takes the fifth position among the top-ranked smart cities with its innovative approach to healthcare and education. The city’s investment in research and smart technology, coupled with its cultural offerings, make it a desirable destination for residents and businesses alike.

TEKTELIC’s Impact on the Smart City Industry

In the context of smart city automation, TEKTELIC offers a comprehensive portfolio of LoRaWAN® gateways, making it an ideal choice for any scale of deployment. Our robust outdoor gateways provide extensive coverage and efficient data gathering from thousands of sensors.

With experience in successful implementations and partnerships with governments and city infrastructure, TEKTELIC is well-equipped to facilitate the transformation of cities into intelligent and sustainable urban environments.

To learn more about our smart city solutions, please contact us at

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