Singapore, London, New York, Paris and Tokyo are the world’s top five smart cities. That’s based on factors such as connectivity, ease of doing business, education, environmental footprint, governance, human capital, innovation, infrastructure and liveability, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Smart City Indicator.
The Singapore government has launched one of the world’s largest smart city rollouts with its Smart Nation initiative, and has plans to cover the entire city-state with sensors and smart cameras to collect data across the likes of healthcare, water and waste.
There also the food issue. The city state’s Sky Greens project is the world’s first commercial, hydraulic-driven vertical farm, growing lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens on nine- metre tall A-shaped towers hosting 38 tiers of growing troughs. Each tower costs just S$3 per month to run – the power system has a very low carbon footprint, needing the energy equivalent to illuminating a 40-watt light bulb.
The report also points to London’s Unit 84 in Beckton, the UK’s first aquaponic, vertical urban farm. GrowUp’s 6,000 square feet of growing space produces more than 20,000kg of sustainable salad produce and herbs, and 4,000kg of fish each year
However, for all the innovation – and the rankings – it’s early days. The rollout of smart cities is in its infancy because most metros are not homogenous entities, but rather a collection of multiple ecosystems with their own challenges and stakeholders (think… airports, businesses, homes, factories, government). Which is why the report is calling for more smarts joined-upness.