3 reasons why Singapore is the smartest city in the world

singapore 19

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore (Swapnil Bapat, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sharmishta Sivaramakrishnan, Community Specialist, Young Global Leaders – Asia, World Economic Forum Geneva


It’s official: Singapore is the world’s smartest city. That’s according to a new survey Published by Swiss business school IMD and the Singapore University of Technology and Design – the IMD Smart Cities Index – which looked at how well cities are adopting digital technologies and improving the lives of the people who live there.

What is a smart city?

Looking at aspects such as public safety, mobility, governance and health, the index measured cities’ performance on maintaining green spaces, improving existing local institutions, and digitalizing access to employment, all while maintaining the security of their citizens.

While there is no universal definition for the term ‘smart city,’ it is a concept that was devised at the advent of the internet of things (IoT). Smart cities are committed to improving the provision and development of urban services through the use of digital technology.

The smart city movement aims to transform the way we live, move and work
The smart city movement aims to transform the way we live, move and work
Image: Singapore Smart Nation and Digital Government Office

Here are three ways Singapore is smarter than the average city.

1.Healthier citizens mean healthier cities.

How a city’s leaders shape the future of healthcare will ultimately determine how the prosperity of the city itself and of its citizens. A healthcare ecosystem that celebrates continuous learning and innovation, builds communities and offers reliable specialist care is essential. Moreover, how well is a city’s leadership putting empathy at the heart of its healthcare infrastructure?

In Singapore, a key example of this is the development of Healthcity Novena – a masterplan for community-focused health in which infrastructure such as pedestrian walkways, underground car parks and outdoor green spaces exist to complement and ameliorate the citizen-patient experience. A city whose leaders proactively think about these aspects of healthcare provision will inherently be a healthier one.

2. A house with a heart is a home.

Singapore’s Housing Development Board (HDB) offers all citizens access to free public housing. Furthermore, the country’s leaders have created public housing that is more than just an apartment space; it also stretches into larger community areas that integrate liveability, sustainability and growth. More than 80% of the country’s population lives in public housing, which means the provision and administration of housing is pivotal to the identity and character of a diverse city like Singapore. The country’s leadership is not only integrating crucial principles of community generosity, building family ties and racial harmony, it must also consider pragmatic factors needed for inclusive housing such as financial planning, allocation and insurance. By planning for the future, the city’s leaders can take an active role in adding heart to housing, ensuring that residents live in spaces characterized by vibrancy, self-sufficiency and connectivity.

3. Mobility is a shared community experience.

Transportation determines much of the quality of life for residents in a smart city. In late October, the city’s Land Transit Authority (LTA) expanded a pilot area for autonomous vehicles (AVs) to cover the whole of western Singapore. The city’s leaders have realized that in order to build a resilient workforce and citizenry, mobility must be designed in a way that not only covers the last mile of a journey but also that allows everyone to participate in what the city has to offer.

In Singapore, the LTA is building a system of transport infrastructure in which daily commutes can integrate active mobility modes like walking and cycling with public transportation services like mass rapid transit (MRT) and buses. The ‘Walk Cycle Ride’ initiative offers national benefits: it encourages more liveable recreation spaces, promotes sustainable energy use and reduces pollution. By applying advanced technologies to mobility, the city enables citizens to lead more active lifestyles through convenient and cost-effective transportation.

These practices demonstrate how much can be done when a city’s leaders focus on strong governance and the integration of citizens’ interaction, comfort and preferences. If these principles are adapted in other geographic contexts and are paired with the right amounts of investment, we may soon see a flourishing list of smart cities around the world. Transforming the ways in which citizens inhabit their cities by prioritizing health and mobility will, in turn, raise the growth potential of the world’s cities.

Learning to be smart

In autumn this year, the Forum of Young Global Leaders was able to host its first Executive Education module with the generosity and support of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Focusing on the theme of smart cities, the module offered a series of expert-led seminars, workshops and site visits to allow 30 Young Global Leaders (YGLs) a chance to learn about Singapore as a case study in applying technology to urban development, management and leadership. During the week-long course, YGLs were able to examine the management of different sectors of Singapore’s urban economy in order to prepare them to further improve and to invest in the urban development and livelihoods that will lead their own cities into the future. Overall, the module provided a broad overview of how Singapore has placed itself at the forefront of urban development, resilience and sustainability through futuristic policy making and regulations.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Global South cooperation ‘vital’ to climate change fight, development, Guterres tells historic Buenos Aires summit

We must move from egocentric to ecocentric leadership to safeguard our planet

Here are 5 of the biggest threats to our oceans, and how we can solve them

Deliver ‘significant results now’, UN General Assembly President tells COP25 climate conference

Inaction on obesity stands in the way of sustainable development

How much is nature worth? $125 trillion, according to this report

Everything you need to know about Ireland’s economy (Post Brexit)

Do all you can to resolve climate change ‘sticking points’ UN chief urges South-East Asian leaders, in Bali

We must stop a devastating ‘battle to the end’ in southwest Syria, declares UN envoy

Young people hold the key to creating a better future

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

A giant marine heatwave has descended on Alaska

Sweden is a top performer on well-being. Here’s why

Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

How to look after someone with coronavirus

The future of crypto-assets, from opportunities to policy implications

Parliament in favour of lifting visa requirements for Kosovars

The Brexit factor in the US-China trade war and other conflicts

Private sector can help accelerate an equitable COVID-19 vaccine rollout – here’s how

Taxation: Historic global agreement to ensure fairer taxation of multinational enterprises

MEPs back plans to halt spread of drug resistance from animals to humans

COVID-19: Commission launches European team of scientific experts to strengthen EU coordination and medical response

Coronavirus: 4 tips for parents who are homeschooling

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

UN chief calls for ‘united front’ against anti-Semitism after US synagogue mass-shooting

Traffic congestion cost the US economy nearly $87 billion in 2018

Biblioburro: The amazing donkey libraries of Colombia

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

EU Summit’s major takeaway: a handkerchief cannot save Greece from austerity

Human rights champions from across the world receive top UN prize

South Sudan ‘revitalized’ peace deal must be inclusive, Security Council hears

UN genocide adviser welcomes historic conviction of former Khmer Rouge leaders

How quantum computing could beat climate change

Two shipwrecks add to ‘alarming increase’ in migrant deaths off Libya coast: IOM

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

EU voters not interested in the European Parliament elections. What’s behind this European Titanic?

Bigotry ‘moving at lightning speed’ Guterres warns, as UN marks the Holocaust

Moves to create a Kosovo army have ‘deteriorated relations’ with Serbia: UN peacekeeping chief

Rule of Law mechanism applies without further delay as of 1 January, MEPs stress

5 principles for effective cybersecurity leadership in a post-COVID world

UN Human Rights Council stands firm on LGBTI violence, Syria detainees and Philippines ‘war on drugs’

UN Human Rights chief urges Venezuela to halt grave rights violations

COVID-19 has ushered in the age of the ‘intangible company’. Here are 4 ways it will change business

Multiculturalism, social diversity and tolerance

Our healthcare systems are ailing. Here’s how to make them better

COVID-19: Commission supports blood services to increase COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection

How innovations in energy storage technology support climate goals

India’s 1.3 billion residents start 21-day lockdown – Today’s coronavirus updates

Colombia: ‘Terrible trend’ of rights defenders killed, harassed; UN calls for ‘significant effort’ to tackle impunity

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, in Brussels - Berlaymont, last week. (Copyright European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus)

Amazon, Luxembourg and Ireland hit by EU’s latest turn of the screw over competition

Improvements to pension systems have made them better placed to deliver pensions

Want investors to care about natural resources? Put a price on them

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Hurdles in the way of vaccinating one and all against COVID-19-reviewing the challenges for vaccination against COVID-19

President David Sassoli to visit Skopje: “Remain on the European track”

Parliament condemns all forms of racism, hate and violence and calls for action

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: