A 2018 survey revealed that 66% of Americans did NOT want to live in a “Smart City” due to privacy and security risks. Worldwide opposition to “Smart Cities” continues to increase due to concerns about catastrophic cybersecurity, economic, privacy, safety, health and environmental risks (see 1, 2, 3, 4). In fact, last year, Toronto cancelled its “Smart City” plans due to public pressure (see 1, 2). Nevertheless, recently two congresswomen introduced new legislation to promote and provide funding for more U.S. “Smart Cities”. Argh.
Even if you don’t live in a “Smart City” yet, you may be curious to know more about other cities that have started the process. After all, your legislators may planning to spend your tax dollars to install some if not all of this horrible technology (5G, “Smart” Streetlights, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.) throughout your community as well.
As cities compete to attract new people or improve the lives of existing residents, they are increasingly investing in becoming smarter.
The definition of a ‘smart city’ varies, depending who you ask. If we had to sum it up in one sentence, it would be cities that leverage technologies like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve public services and infrastructure and provide more opportunities for social and economic mobility.
Singapore is the city that most often ranks at the top of global smart city rankings. Among other things, it has digitized its healthcare system with online doctor consultations and wearable monitoring equipment; created an autonomous fleet of vehicles for elderly and disabled residents; and installed an AI-powered traffic light control system for smoother traffic and pedestrian flow.
In America, city governments will invest around $41 trillion over the next 20 years to upgrade their infrastructure to benefit from the IoT, according to the SmartAmerica Challenge, a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow initiative that aims to bring together projects from sectors such as smart manufacturing, healthcare, smart energy, intelligent transportation, and disaster response.
Not surprisingly, many of the cities investing heavily in smart technologies are already known for being innovation or academic hubs, as our list of the top 10 smart cities in America demonstrates. For this list, we considered only cities whose urban areas contain more than 1 million people. As a bonus, we also selected 1 smaller city investing heavily in smart initiatives.