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IMD index: Singapore is smartest city in the world

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Republic performs well in categories including public safety, online access to job listings

Singapore is the smartest city in the world, the inaugural IMD Smart City Index showed.

Published by Swiss business school IMD and the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the index ranked cities in terms of how "smart" they are, which, in this case, was defined as an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanisation.

The survey's findings were derived from the perceptions of the city's citizens, with 120 residents from each city polled on their ideas of two pillars: structures, which refer to the city's existing infrastructure; and technology, which refers to the technological provisions and services available to residents.

Under each pillar, the survey also looked at the categories of health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities and governance - each of which were in turn broken down into smaller indicators.

Singapore performed well across the board, including for the indicators of public safety, lifelong learning opportunities provided by local institutions, having green spaces and having online access to job listings.

Mr Christos Cabolis, chief economist at IMD Business School's Competitiveness Centre, told The Straits Times: "Singapore topped the ranking because, according to its citizens, it is performing superbly in providing high-quality infrastructure in the areas we study, while at the same time adopting technologies in an efficient way to make the lives of Singaporeans better."

Singapore is only one of two Asian cities to be in the top 10 out of 102 cities. Taipei is the other, in seventh place.

TOP 10

The rest of the top 10 smartest cities are Zurich (in second place), Oslo (third), Geneva (fourth), Copenhagen (fifth), Auckland (sixth), Helsinki (eighth), Bilbao (ninth) and Dusseldorf (10th).

The index also surveyed residents on the areas that they perceive to be of priority and as the most urgent for the city.

For Singapore, the issues of affordable housing, fulfilling employment, unemployment and public transport came out as the highest priority areas.

Mr Ng Chee Khern, Permanent Secretary for Smart Nation and Digital Government, said the index is useful for policymakers to direct their work to what would most benefit citizens and businesses.

He said: "Other indices focused mainly on experts' opinions of how well technology is used, rather than on how citizens feel or do not feel that technology is benefiting them.

"For Singapore, our approach to building a Smart Nation has always been extremely citizen- and business-focused to help make Singapore a better place to work, live and play."