Information and communication technology (ICT) is changing the rationale for value creation and, with it, the wealth of cities, according to research from urban development consultancy Sweco on behalf of Ericsson, who says that cities with low ICT maturity are improving their ICT maturity faster than high-performing cities.
The index ranks 40 cities and measures their ICT maturity in terms of leverage from ICT investments in economic, social and environmental development: the “triple bottom line” effect.
Cities within emerging markets set to leapfrog their more developed counterparts include Jakarta, Cairo, Lagos, Delhi and Dhaka, in large part because they do not have a history of investment in legacy technology infrastructure, but instead are using advanced mobile technology from the outset, according to the report.
“Today, we are seeing so many new opportunities which are more or less provided by ICT,” said Monika Byléhn, who works on Ericsson’s Networked Society initiative. “The way that cities are lead is increasingly built on ICT to provide efficiency and innovation, in basically all areas of a city, from health care to transport to utilities.”
The report makes three predictions about how ICT will impact the urban future.
1. People rather than institutions (smart citizens) will drive urban progress, with more open public services and governance approaches characterizing this power shift.
2. By moving toward a more collaborative and sharing economy, ICT solutions will provide opportunities to create more value from fewer resources, therefore necessitating an adjustment of GDP to mirror the values important for a sustainable society.
3. Networking organizations will be driven to collaborate, making them more flexible and efficient; therefore, the prevailing conditions of city management will also evolve, requiring changes in legislation and governance.
This year’s top five ranked cities in order are Stockholm, London, Paris, Singapore and Copenhagen.