Smart cities seems to be quite the trending topic as of late, and although I  have across a fair number of smart city rankings and even a few premonitions of how smart cities will lead to our demise; I experienced a great difficulty finding a satisfactory, no-nonsense definition of what it actually means to be a smart city.

Then, like a diamond in the rough, I happened upon some articles by Boyd Cohen, an urban strategist, who has been ranking smart cities since 2012. The methodology he uses is gloriously transparent. It’s a mathematical point-based system involving six key components of smart cities that branch into 62 key indicators (e.g. number of bicycles per capita, annual number of public transportation trips per capita, availability of transit apps)

One of the goals of being smart city is to have access to quality information on which to base decisions; and in a rather ironic twist, in 2015, only 11 out of the eligible 120 cities were able to collect the necessary data. After years of developing his methodology, Boyd Cohen is now going back to the drawing board to develop a better smart-city ranking approach.

I imagine that the transportation elements will remain the same.

smart city

Image from Boyd Cohen’s article