Three and a half Roses

The IMD Smart City Index 2020 report reveals interesting trends (with Excel download)

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Not long ago, the  Institute for Management Development (IMD) published their Smart City Index 2020 report, ranking cities worldwide according to their “smartness” levels. 

For the IMD, a ‘smart city’ continues to be defined as an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanization for its citizens..

The IMD published the report in PDF format (find it here), we’ve compiled an Excel sheet from it for all of us to play with the figures.  For the impatient, we include the top ten below.

2020 Top Ten Smart Cities
2020 Top Ten Smart Cities

A first interesting observation is that only 2 top twenty entries are Asian cities (Singapore and Taipei) while 11 smart cities are located in Europe.

A second interesting observation is that even though Europe counts more smart cities in the top hundred, there are (way) more inhabitants living in the Asian smart cities and enjoying these smart places. 

It is important to note, though that it is not clear how the cities were selected to be included in the index.  This means that the larger number of European cities in the ranking may be the result of some personal bias of the authors towards the European continent.


Number of cities per continent
Number of cities per continent

Total Population per Continent
Total Population per Continent

Finally, of the 310 million people living in the Asian smart cities, 166 million live in China (in one of the 12 Chinese cities out of a total of 34 Asian cities).


  1. The smarter cities are located in Europe.
  2. Many Asian smart cities are located in China.
  3. China has the largest population of smart-city dwellers. 


You should take the results with a grain of salt. First, because it is not clear how the 109 cities were selected to participate, and second because the ranking is based on the perceptions of 120 randomly selected people living in those cities (over a period of two years).  So there may be selection bias (and not necessarily on purpose).  You can find the full description of the “methodology” they followed in this PDF.

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About Me

As an experienced enterprise architect with a deep-rooted passion for cloud, AI, and architectural design, I’ve guided numerous companies through the management of their existing application landscapes and facilitated their transition to a future state.