New York Again Ranked World’s Smartest City

IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017

May 24, 2017

New York is once again the world’s “smartest” city, followed by London and Paris, according to the IESE Cities in Motion Index 2017, which measures the sustainability and quality of life in major cities around the globe.

The index is prepared by IESE’s Center for Globalization and Strategy, under the direction of Profs. Pascual Berrone and Joan Enric Ricart.

Rounding out the top 10 are a mix of U.S., European and Asian cities: Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, Berlin and Amsterdam.

Source: IESE Business School

The annual study, which has one of the largest ranges of data analyzed and geographical coverage, goes beyond simply measuring technology and the environment, to examine all aspects that make up sustainability and quality of life in 180 cities in 80 countries.

Tokyo and Berlin Gain Ground

Stability is the trend among the ranking’s global leaders: the top three cities stayed put, compared with last year, while Boston (now fourth) and San Francisco (now fifth) simply switched places.

Exceptions include Tokyo and Berlin, which climbed four and two spots, respectively, while Chicago slipped five spots, from seventh to 12th.

European and North American cities dominate the list, accounting for 43 of the top 50 cities.

Meanwhile, most of the biggest leaps were seen in Europe: Turin, Moscow, Warsaw, Rome, Ljubljana and Milan have all climbed 12 or more spots in the past two years. Within Spain, Madrid climbed to 28th place while Barcelona fell to 35th.

Buenos Aires (83rd) tops the Latin American ranking. Abu Dhabi (64th) replaces Dubai (66th) as leader in the Middle East. Cape Town (133rd) remains the top African city on the list, although Tunis (137th) is gaining ground.

Taipei Best for Technology

In this fourth edition of the Cities in Motion Index, the authors analyze 79 indicators in 10 different dimensions of urban life: the economy, technology, human capital, social cohesion, international outreach, the environment, mobility and transportation, urban planning, public administration and governance.

The results show that almost all of these areas are led by European and North American cities. The exception is technology, where Taipei reigns.

The global leaders score very well in almost every dimension analyzed. New York is the world’s preeminent economic hub and the second most advanced city in terms of technology.

London, meanwhile, is the best positioned in both mobility (transportation) and human capital, with its many universities and business schools. London is also second in international outreach, a category led by Paris for being a top destination for international tourists and conferences.

However, the authors note that “the perfect city does not exist.” For example, the three top cities all have poor social cohesion scores, ranking 153rd, 105th and 86th, respectively.

Thus, any city could benefit from fostering local collaboration between its various social partners – be they public, private or nonprofit organizations.

What’s more, studying the most advanced cities in each category provides a source of inspiration to identify best practices (see “Keeping Up with ‘Cities in Motion,’ the Book Series.”)

More information in IESE Insight