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5 Smart Cities You Wish You Could Live In (if you don't already)

We’ve heard a lot about smart cities, but are they real, or just a fancy phrase from a sci-fi narrative? A look at 5 smart cities that are blazing the innovation trail and turning science fiction into fact.
BY Navleen Kaur |   13-02-2015

Remember the Jetsons, the famous animated sitcom of the nineties? Flying cars, planned citygrid, voice-automation, robots for servants, and whimsical inventions. While most of it may not become anachronistic any time soon, the Jetsonesque utopia is no longer a distant exaggeration. Urban regeneration is the new catchphrase as more cities are queuing in front of the barber pole. Indian PM, Narendra Modi, too has promised no less than paradise to the growing urban population of the country, with his plan for 100 smart cities.

Honey, are you sure this is not the 80’s?

What and where, in the world, are smart cities?

We take a look at some of the best smart cities around the world, and what makes them so smart!

Barcelona, Spain

Photo courtesy: Smart City Expo, Barcelona

The perfect example of a city innovating its way towards low-carbon solutions, Barcelona has become one of the most sustainable tourist and study destinations in Europe. From the orthogonal bus network or the bicycle sharing system, to the tap and go contactless payment system using NFC technology or the new urban sensors; the city is transforming itself into an urban laboratory of ideation and innovation.


Supertree Grove, the Garden by the Bay, Singapore, Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

One of the few cities with the least carbon footprint, Singapore mesmerizes the visitors with it’s clean and immaculate city grid. Remarkably, Singapore has gone from being dependent on Malaysia for portable water to generating millions from selling their rainwater collection and water recycling technologies around the globe. In fact, Singapore wants to be the very firstsmart nation in the world.


Toronto Inline, Photo courtesy: Fast Company

Awarded the 2014 Most Intelligent Community Award by the Smart Cities Council, Toronto is one of the  best  rated smart cities of North America. The Waterfront Toronto (IBM collaboration project) is a massive urban renewal project that is revitalizing 800 hectares of brownfield shoreline on the city's harbor with residential, recreational, and commercial spaces.Toronto is also an active member of the Clinton 40 (C40) megacities, which seek to transition to the low-carbon economy.


Photo courtesy:

Rated number one on the green scale in Europe by Siemens, Copenhagen is emerging as a pioneer in sustainable innovation. The city aims at becoming the first carbon neutral capital by 2025 (with initiatives like cycle commuting to reduce congestion, reducing landfill with waste, harbor cleaning etc.). Keeping citizens first, the ‘Copenhagen Connecting’ initiative makes intelligent use of data from phones, public GPS systems, sensors in sewers and trash facilities.

New York

New York Skyline, Photo courtesy: Telegraph

Embracing green urban regeneration, promoting cycle commute, and fostering a strong entrepreneurial economy, New York has captured the attention of the world with such initiatives. Being a promoter of the low-carbon economy, New York partnered with IBM in 2009 to launch the IBM Business Analytics Solution Center to address "the growing demand for the complex capabilities needed to build smarter cities and help clients optimize all manner of business processes and business decisions.

Inspiring Innovation: ‘One Globe Conference 2015’

If you look closely, one trend that remains constant about all smart cities is that they are built to ‘inspire innovation’. If you are somebody smitten with the concept of smart cities, and would like to make a contribution or know more about the field,  One Globe Conference would be delighted to have you!

One Globe Uniting Knowledge Communities Conference 4th & 5th March 2015

The One Globe Conference 2015, rescheduled for March 4-5, in New Delhi, will delve deep into the Indian Government’s initiatives over the smart city project, it’s implications and significance, as well as the need to get smart with smart cities. To register, click here.


References: Co.exist, Smart Cities Council, Smart City Expo, State of Green, Waterfront Toronto


To read about the best courses on Smart Cities, click here.



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