Top 5 smart cities: the future is already here

Governments mostly try to implement smart city concepts in existing cities

Top 5 smart cities: the future is already here. Source:

Nowadays more than 4.2 billion people live in cities. Scientists suggest that the majority of the population (up to 7 billion people, to be precise) will live in cities by 2050. Therefore, the “smart city” question became a topical issue over the past few years.

The main aim of smart city development projects is to create an environment in which every megapolis resident enjoys a comfortable life while working and rest conditions are decent.

To build a smart city from scratch

There are a lot of new and interesting concepts of “built from scratch” smart cities. It is expected that such cities would be based on a water recycling system, e-mobility, and eco-driving infrastructures, etc. Masdar City (UAE), the world’s first city beneath the surface of the ocean called Ocean Spiral (Japan), Chengdu Great City (China), and Tianjin Eco-city are the best examples of the “built from scratch” smart city concept.

However, such projects require enormous costs and they are quite difficult to implement.

Thus, governments mostly try to implement smart city concepts in existing cities.

The criteria for selecting smart cities

  • The effective application of  energy resources;
  • The development of alternative sources of energy;
  • The use of environmentally-friendly modes of transport;
  • Urban transport infrastructure and car parking system optimization;
  • The introduction of innovative technologies. The development of the Internet of Things;
  • The spread of computers and smartphones and uninterrupted access to Wi-Fi.

Top 5 smart cities


Singapore. Source:

This city is always #1 in most of the “best smart city” ratings. The key feature of this city is a reorganized traffic flow system. Traffic lights, along with road signs and security cameras are able “to talk” to each other. Moreover, they can “talk” to cars on the road and straight back to a centralized government agency.

There are multiple automated car parks. The fully automated car parking system knows the number of vacant parking spots and can send this data to a special mobile app. A city resident is able to download this app and use it. That’s how people always know where they can find a parking space.

Furthermore, the government has developed a special 2D map, where people can track traffic flow. The government has also reserved the right to amend or update the map information. Now they can mark the congested districts, change bus routes, etc.

The government has also developed a 3D Singapore model. It helps to implement some essential solutions virtually. For example, it is possible to carry out the testing of an emergency evacuation.

New York

New York. Source:

This city is always hitting top-3 positions in “smart city” charts and ratings. The critical feature of this city is undoubtedly the security system. New York streets are full of surveillance cameras, which are endowed with special sound sensors. Such a system can identify the sound of a gunshot and instantly send a signal to the police.

The city is also known for its BigBelly system. It is a system of smart garbage bins, which are endowed with chips that detect when the bin is full, allowing trash collectors to know that it is time to make a pick-up.

New York has much more if we are talking about the smart city concept. Smart Lighting (LED lighting retrofits that save no less than $800,000 per year), Smart Water Metering, and Air Quality Monitoring (to address the issue of air pollution) programs have already been launched and show favorable results overall. The systems are still not perfect, but they work. After all, they are the systems that make New York a role model.


London. Source:

London, similar to Singapore, launched a smart car parking system in 2014. Besides, London firefighters use SAS to explore risk and drive prevention strategies aimed at reducing fires, death, and injury. London underground stations are equipped with temperature and humidity sensors.

The government plans to launch Foster + Partners SkyCycle project. It is about new cycle routes throughout the city. Basically, the idea is to construct new cycle routes above the railroad lines. It would reduce traffic congestion and provide security for cyclists.


Barcelona. Source:

The capital city of Catalonia is also considered to be one of the most advanced smart cities. This city is known for its smart car parking system, smart garbage bins, and smart public transport stops.

Barcelona-El Prat Airport is endowed with the Smart Borders System, which facilitates their customs procedure.

Barcelona has also launched a smart lighting system, which can save up to $10B.

The capital city of Catalonia suffers from drought during the summer. An automated irrigation system solves this issue and saves water.

Moreover, Barcelona streets are equipped with air pollution and traffic control sensors. It is all possible due to the Sentilo platform, which developed these solutions, especially for the Barcelona infrastructure.


Copenhagen. Source:

The capital city of Denmark is famous for its cycling infrastructure. The government implemented a project on equipping bike sensors in 2017. These sensors tell cyclists data for road congestion and the air pollution index.

The government actively supports “smart” ideas and “smart city concept” solutions. They have developed the City Data Exchange solution jointly with Hitachi. Any resident can share the data he has. This is the way the Copenhagen government is able to link different institutions (public, city administration, police, medical institutions, etc).

In addition, Copenhagen is a city with a well-developed cashless payments system.


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