Riyadh beats Paris, Berlin, and Madrid in global Smart City ranking
Riyadh has beaten the capitals of France, Germany and Spain in a global Smart City ranking, with Makkah, Jeddah, and Madinah included in the list for the first time.
The list, which seeks to find out how technology is enabling cities to achieve a higher quality of life for their inhabitants, places the Saudi capital 30th on the global ranking – making it the third highest Arab city.
It is also up from 39th last year and 55th in 2019.
Makkah is placed 52nd – which still makes it the fourth highest Arab city – with Jeddah coming in the 56th position and Madinah ranked 85th.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai lead the way for Arab cities, coming in at 13th and 17th respectively on the list of 141 settlements.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, the Smart City observatory is one of the global indexes that evaluates the preparedness of cities and it is an assessment tool and holistic, interdisciplinary approach for urban planners, decision-makers, and researchers to evaluate smart tech systems’ contributions to improving the living standards of residents.
The improvement in the Saudi cities’ ranking in the Smart City index was the result of collaborative efforts of all concerned agencies, including the National Smart City Platform, launched by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, added SPA.
The top ranked city is Zurich in Switzerland, followed by Olso in Norway, and Canberra in Australia.
The full report notes the absence of American or African cities in the top 20, which is dominated by those in Europe or the Asia-Pacific – with the exception of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
New York ranks 22nd while Cairo, at 108th, is the leading African city. Medellin in Colombia is the leading South American location at 118.
The report notes: “The 2023 rankings reflect a growing interest and higher levels of concern about the quality of life that residents are expecting to enjoy in their respective cities.
“Size is often a handicap rather than an advantage in this regard. This explains why most large metropolises such as Boston (34th) or Paris (46th) rank relatively low in the index, in spite of remarkable progress in a number of key areas such as sustainability and mobility.”