Top 10 smart cities in Europe

Sophie Chapman
- Top 10 - Mar 06, 2019

The European Commission defines a smart city as “a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and business.” Here is a list of the top 10 smartest cities in Europe, according to the IESE Cities in Motion Index (CIMI).

10. Oslo

The capital city of Norway is currently executing the Smart Oslo initiative that aims to deliver  “a smarter, greener, more inclusive and creative city for all citizens.” The strategy is targeting connectivity, sustainability, and innovation. Secure communication technology and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are being integrated into the city’s core operations – such as governance, citizens’ services, energy management, waste management, water management, urban mobility, education, industry development, welfare and healthcare and other community services. Norway is a leading nation in the electrical vehicle industry, and its capital is reflecting this by testing electric buses.

9. Helsinki

Helsinki is focusing on digitalising industries and creating user-focused services – Finland’s capital wants to ensure its region keeps its title as a world leader in utilising public information. The city won joint first position in the European Capital of Smart Tourism Competition in 2018. Helsinki has also been commended for its startups, digital transportation services, and smart city government. “Helsinki's vision is to be the most functional city in the world. The success in many comparisons shows that we are going in the right direction. The utilisation of digitalisation is a significant success factor for Helsinki,” stated the city’s Mayor, Jan Vapaavuori.

8. Vienna

“Smart City Wien has set the goal to successfully overcome the challenges of the 21st century,” claims Vienna’s smart city strategy. The initiative has taken a long-term, holistic approach to transforming the Austrian city – by 2050, Vienna wants to ensure the best quality of life and minimise consumption and resources, as well as sitting in the top five research and innovation hubs in Europe. The city is focusing on buildings, digital, education, energy, environment, health, innovation, location, mobility, and social affairs.

7. Stockholm

On 3 April 2017, Stockholm’s council implemented a digitisation strategy to increase smart city adoption. The Swedish city argues that the increased rate of people leaving rural areas for cities should encourage technology advancements to increase opportunities. “Anything that can be digitalised will be digitalised,” claims the City of Stockholm. Hundreds of projects are currently underway, including smart bins, which use technology powered by solar to report data, smart lighting, and traffic control.

6. Copenhagen

 “The smart city Copenhagen is a living laboratory for testing smart technologies to handle the challenges of urbanisation and climate change,” states Copenhagen Capacity. The greater district of Denmark’s capital has collaborated with academia, the public sector, and industry to test and develop projects. Copenhagen’s startups are attracting investments into the city, with around 250 firms contributing to smart city activity.


5. Berlin

Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH regards the city as a “laboratory for efficient infrastructure, informational networking, sustainable mobility and creativity.” Germany’s capital aims to anticipate trends and use ICT to introduce efficient solutions, focusing on the energy, transport, mobility, logistics, healthcare, and photonics sectors. The Smart City Berlin Network was established to promote the city’s strategy, and features over 100 firms and institutes.

4. Amsterdam

Featuring in 10th position in the global ranking, Amsterdam has implemented several projects under its strategy. Circular Amsterdam has established a framework for innovation processes by increasing knowledge in the circular economy and understanding the transition from a linear to a circular economy. City-zen focuses on clean energies such as wind, sun, biomass, and geothermal. These renewables will be integrated into buildings and systems through retrofitting, smart heating, and smart grids.


3. Reykjavík

The Icelandic capital has incorporated technology into its transportation to improve efficiency and usability. The Straetó app, which connects to the bus system, was launched in 2014 and has been downloaded 85,000 times. The city has also introduced an online consultation forum and a geothermal energy company. “The future of Reykjavík is now […] Let’s harness the knowledge at the Reykjavík Smart City Conference in Harpa and evaluate the opportunities ahead, everything from smart lamp-posts to self-driving cars,” states Smart City Reykjavík.

2. Paris

Mairie de Paris has created its strategy through three major objectives – The Open City, The Connected City, and The Sustainable City. The city aims to deal with issues such as urbanisation, resource scarcity, and climate change whilst reinventing Paris. France wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in its capital city, as well as create more digital inclusion through technologies such as IoT. The firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has released plans to introduce plant-embedded smart architecture, known as Paris 2050.

1. London

The UK’s capital city was ranked in second position globally, behind New York. Smarter London Together was launched by the city’s mayor in order to make London ‘the smartest city in the world’. The city’s boroughs and services will collaborate using technology. The strategy outlines five missions: design, data sharing, connectivity, skills, and collaboration. The London Office for Data Analytics (LODA) programme will launch under the initiative to increase data sharing and collaboration.

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