Smart cities? The IESE Cities in Motion Index

IESE Business School is the business school of the University of Navarra, Spain, that calculate the IESE Cities in Motion Index. This index studies the meaning of a smart city across nine dimensions considered key to being a smart, sustainable city:

1) Human Capital Indicators: Higher education; Business schools; Movement of students; Universities; Museums and art galleries; Schools; Theaters; Expenditure on leisure and recreation (per capita and millions of dollars)

2) Social Cohesion Indicators: Mortality; Crime rate; Health; Unemployment; Gini index; Price of property; Female workers; Global Peace Index; Hospitals; Happiness index; Global Slavery Index; Government response to situations of slavery; Terrorism.

3) Economic Indicators: Productivity; Time required to start a business; Ease of starting a business; Headquarters; Motivation for early-stage entrepreneurial activity; GDP estimate; GDP; GDP Per Capita

4) Governance Indicators: Reserves; Reserves per capita; Embassies; ISO 37120 certification; Research centers; Strength of legal rights; Corruption perceptions; Open data platform; E‑Government Development Index; Democracy; Government buildings.

5) Environmental Indicators: CO2 emissions; CO2 emission index; Methane emissions; Access to the water supply; PM2.5; PM10; Pollution; Environmental Performance Index; Renewable water resources; Future climate; Solid waste.

6) Mobility and Transportation Indicators: Traffic index; Inefficiency index; Index of traffic for commuting to work; Bike sharing; Metro length; Metro stations; Flights; Gas stations; High-speed train.

7) Urban Planning Indicators: Bicycles for rent; Percentage of the population with access to sanitation facilities; Number of people per household; High-rise buildings; Buildings;

8) International Outreach Indicators: McDonald’s; Airports; Number of passengers per
airport; Sightsmap; Number of conferences and meetings; Hotels.

9) Technology: Twitter; LinkedIn; Facebook; Mobile phones; Wi-Fi hot spot; Apple Store; Innovation index; Landline subscriptions; Broadband subscriptions; Internet; Mobile telephony.

Source: IESE Cities in Motion Index

According to magazine Forbes, «while most smart cities rankings are focused solely on the use of smart technology or specific measures of environmental sustainability, to perform well on this index a city must perform well across a number of different elements». The article in the magazine states that «After all, it is not much good having an environmentally friendly city if crime & unemployment is so high no one wants to live there». You can check Forbes out here.

Although it is true that the index tries to include more variables to analyze a smart city, the index has a western bias. Technology such as Twitter and Facebook are not used in China. On the contrary, applications such as WeChat or Weibo are widely used among Chinese users.

Besides, chains like Apple Store are not the only popular in countries like China. There are examples such as Huawei and Xiaomi Stores that one can find in every shopping center in the biggest or medium sizes cities in China.

Finally, Governance and International Outreach indicators are weak. On the one hand, variables such as «reserves» that refer to «Total reserves in millions of current dollars» do not have much relation with Governance.
On the another hand, variables that assess the real capacity of mobilization of resources that Local Governments have are not included.

Is the number of McDonald’s restaurants per city a variable to measure the international outreach? Why not also include Starbucks, KFC, Seven Eleven, and other popular convenience stores, coffee shops or fast food restaurant chain? Should they all of them be incorporated?

The ranking of the 20 first cities are

  1. New York
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. Tokyo
  5. Reykjavik
  6. Singapore
  7. Seoul-South
  8. Toronto
  9. Hong Kong
  10. Amsterdam
  11. Berlin
  12. Melbourne
  13. Copenhagen
  14. Chicago
  15. Sydney
  16. Stockholm
  17. Los Angeles
  18. Wellington
  19. Vienna
  20. Washington

You can read the all report here.

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