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Manila drops 10 places to rank 104th in smart city index

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Manila, the capital of the Philippines,  dropped 10 places to rank 104th among 109 cities surveyed in the second edition of 2020 Smart City Index Report.

The Smart City Index ranks cities based on economic and technological data and their citizens’ perceptions of how “smart” their cities are.

Joining Manila in the bottom 10 were Sau Paulo, Brazil at 100th place; Rome, Italy at 101th; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 102th; Cape Town, South Africa, 103rd; Rabat, Morroco, 105th; Cairo, Egypt, 106th; Abuja, Nigeria, 107th; Nairobi, Kenya, 108th; and Lagos, Nigeria in the last spot.

Singapore retained its spot as the smartest city with a rating of AAA while Helsinki jumped 7 places to rank second place from 8th.  Zurich dropped a notch to third.

Rounding up the top ten cities were Auckland, Oslo, Copenhagen, Geneva, Taipei, Amsterdam and New York.

The Institute for Management Development, in collaboration with Singapore University for Technology and Design, released the 2020 Smart City Index, with key findings on how technology is playing a role in the COVID-19 era in a way that is likely to remain.

Hundreds of respondents from 109 cities were surveyed in April and May 2020 and were asked questions on the technological provisions of their city across five key areas: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities and governance.

From a list of 15 indicators, the respondents were asked to identify priority areas of concern that were most urgent for their city.

The cities have differing approaches to technology as managing the pandemic has become increasingly important in local politics.

IMD professor and director of the World Competitiveness Center at the Swiss management institute Arturo Bris said the survey could not ignore the impact of COVID.

“Those with better technology manage the pandemic better. Smart cities are not the solution, but technology helps,” he said.

He said the COVID-19 crisis would likely widen inequalities between the haves and the have-nots of connectivity, both among and within cities.

The report said that in the case of Southeast Asian cities, the results were diverse. Cities like Bangkok ( 4) and Kuala Lumpur ( 16) performed much better than in 2019. In contrast, Hanoi (-18), Ho Chi Minh City (-18), Jakarta (-13), Makassar (-16) and Manila (-10) dropped significantly.

The rankings also measure the quality of life of the citizens through the Human Development Index. With the general quality of life improving, citizen expectations are also evolving. This can help explain this year’s decline in the rankings for several Asian cities.

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