Dubai and Abu Dhabi came in first and second place in the region on the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Smart City Index 2019, which ranks a total of 102 cities worldwide.
Dubai came in 45th place globally, ahead of Paris, Chicago and Brussels while Abu Dhabi came in 65th place overall, ahead of both Tokyo and Osaka.
This ranking focuses on how citizens perceive the impact of efforts to make their cities ‘smart’. The Smart City Index (SCI) also accommodates the scope of economic and technological aspects with ‘humane dimensions’ while ranking smart cities.
The top 10 smartest cities in the ranking in 2019 are Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen, Auckland, Taipei, Helsinki, Bilbao, and Dusseldorf.
Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, Professor Arturo Bris, said: “Abu Dhabi and Dubai are two cities that stand out in the whole MENA region in terms of quality of technology and provision of social services to improve quality of life. In the future, the focus of the two cities on city planning and design will continue to be a role model.”
IMD noted that while there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy to be a smart city, the top cities scored highly for structures and the manner in which services are made available for citizens.
Bruno Lanvin, President of the IMD’s Smart City Observatory at the IMD World Competitiveness Center said: “Smart cities are becoming magnets for investment, talent, and trade. Yet, a significant part of the efforts and energy spent seem to be disconnected from the long-term aspirations of citizens. Without the citizen’s support and engagement, smart cities may not be sustainable.”