By 2050, it’s likely that two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas, according to the World Urbanization Prospects. The 2014 Revision realized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In accordance with the paper, all world regions are expected to urbanize further over the coming decades even if at different speeds. So, investing in developing urban areas that can create opportunities for people is becoming more and more important.
Another key study, realized by 2thinknow, a data innovation agency established in 2006 in Australia that analyzes innovative cities, have ranked the most high-tech cities in the world. Based on 162 standard City Indicators from the City Benchmarking Data, their analysts collect quantitative and qualitative data about cities.
The theory is based on the fact that innovation moves from an idea to implementation and, then, to communication. According to this, indicators are grouped into three areas:
- Cultural Assets (measurable sources of ideas, i.e. walking city, education level, sports stadium, youth activities);
- Human infrastructure (soft and hard infrastructure to implement innovation, for example policing, waste management, GDP per capita, political transparency, and so on);
- Networked Markets (basic conditions and connections for innovation such as Government IT policy, neighbors market size, smart device, foreign direct investment, …).
These three macro indicators produce a total score that allows to assess all cities into four award categories:
- Nexus Cities that indicate a critical connection for multiple economic and social innovation pre-conditions across multiple industry segments;
- Hub Cities shows dominance or influence on key economic and social innovation segments, based on current global trends;
- Node Cities are globally competitive cities with competitive performance across many innovation segments;
- Upstart Cities are not globally competitive but with broad improvement across multiple indicators can achieve next status.
Table 1 shows the most innovative cities in the world according to Innovation Cities Index 2016-2017 realized by 2thinknow:
|Rank||City Name||Country||Class.||Score||Sub Region|
|1||London||United Kingdom||1 NEXUS||60||EURO CONT|
|2||New York||United States||1 NEXUS||59||USA|
|4||San Francisco – San Jose||United States||1 NEXUS||56||USA|
|5||Boston||United States||1 NEXUS||56||USA|
|6||Los Angeles||United States||1 NEXUS||55||USA|
|7||Singapore||Singapore||1 NEXUS||54||ASIA PAC|
|9||Paris||France||1 NEXUS||54||EURO CONT|
|10||Vienna||Austria||1 NEXUS||53||EURO CONT|
In third place, we find Tokyo (score of 56). The capital of Japan reaches a peak in venture capital investments system. Undoubtedly, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are an extraordinary engine of innovation in different sectors. For example, Tokyo is developing innovative ideas in the field of driverless taxi service, hydrogen cars, electronic passes, facial recognition technology, multi-language device, security systems and even artificial meteor shower.
New York ranks second (score of 59). Tech companies employ hundreds of thousands of people and LinkNYC, the network of free WiFi hubs that covers the entire city, has over 500 kiosks (named “Links”) in the city for public use. The aim is to cover all the boroughs with 7,500 Links because “Internet access is not a luxury,” de Blasio said. “It’s not something optional. It’s something everybody needs.”
At the top, there is London (score of 60): despite Brexit, the city has continued the race in developing a smarter and more innovative public transportation system. The massive renovation to London’s Underground known as Crossrail will reach completion in 2018 at a cost of $20 billion. In addition, London is a sort of global headquarter of startuppers and programmers from all over the world: according to 2thinknow, the city hosts the larger number of innovators that almost any other city in the world.
And Italy? In the Top 100, there are only Milan (29th) and Rome (51st) with a score of 49 and 46 points respectively. To enhance the quality of innovation in Italy, a more participated approach in designing commons as transportation, culture and urban renovation is needed.
Lo studio condotto da 2thinknow sulle città più innovative dal punto di vista tecnologico mostra ancora una volta quali siano i modelli vincenti da seguire in questo campo. Un monito, soprattutto per l’Italia, che piazza solo una città, Milano, nelle prime cinquanta posizioni.