In November 2017, EasyPark Group undertook a study in which it analyzed the digital development of 500 cities across the world and published a list of the top 100 ‘smartest’. This study, named the 2017 Smart Cities Index, awarded points to and ranked the pertinent cities across several categories—Transport and Mobility, Sustainability, Governance, Innovation Economy, Digitalization of Government Services and Living Standard—which were further broken down into sub-categories including 4G availability and usage, the city’s number of Wi-Fi hotspots, its level of smart traffic, etc. The three cities that bagged the first three ranks were Copenhagen, Singapore and Stockholm, and we’ve rounded up the 10 German cities that also made the list.
Germany’s glamorous capital city scored a shockingly low score of 2.71 in the 4G LTE category but balanced this low score with a 9.74 in car-sharing (the third highest-scoring in this category on the list). The city was awarded very good scores for Innovation Economy and Wi-Fi Hotspots, but scored miserably in Environmental Protection and was revealed to have one of the slowest internet connections among the Index’s top 100 cities. However, Berlin emerged as the overall smartest city in Germany.
Global Rank: 13
Hamburg is just behind Berlin on the list with a more uniform score. But even though Hamburg scored well (over 9 points) in Smart Building, Public Transport, Living Standard, Expert Perception and Waste Disposal, the city needs to work on Environment Protection and 4G LTE if it wishes to improve its rank on the list.
Global Rank: 14
As the bustling capital of Bavaria, Munich received great scores in Smart Building and Waste Disposal. Locals would also be proud to know that Munich emerged as the sixth best city in the world, and the best non-US city, for education. However, like most other German cities, Munich needs to do more for its environmental protection and 4G LTE services, categories in which it scored very poorly.
Global Rank: 25
Düsseldorf, just behind Munich on the list, bagged the same high scores in Waste Disposal and Smart Building, but lagged behind most other cities in Digitalization of Government Services. Düsseldorf also seems to lack in Wi-Fi hotspots and 4G LTE services but provides a very good standard of living for its citizens, as evident with its high score in this category and as per Expert Perception.
Global Rank: 26
The comparatively underhyped city of Bayreuth makes for a surprising entry, with the third smartest traffic on the list and impressively high scores (over 9 points) in Urban Planning, Smart Building and Waste Disposal. However, sadly, the concept of car-sharing seems to be practically unknown to the city. If this small town focuses on car-sharing, faster internet and 4G LTE services, we can certainly expect to see it further up the list next time.
Global Rank: 29
Like all other German cities, Hanover bagged brilliant scores (over 9 points) in Smart Building and Waste Disposal. However, its performance in most other aspects ranged from average to poor. It scored extremely low in Car-Sharing, and seems to be lagging behind most cities on the list in 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspots. Its public transport, however, is headed in the right direction and its citizens seem to enjoy a decent standard of living. It should also be noted that Hanover’s government services are better digitalized than other smart cities in the country.
Global Rank: 30
Known as Germany’s famous Cathedral city, Cologne received unexpectedly low scores. Like all other German cities, it seems to have its smart building and waste disposal working just right and its educational facilities, though not as good as Munich’s, are also impressive with a score of 8.01. However, its scores in other departments are not worth writing home about. Like its neighboring German competitors, Cologne fell behind in the 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspots categories.
Global Rank: 31
It’s difficult to believe that one of the most vital commerce and business cities in the country lagged behind seven other German cities (including Bayreuth!) in technological development. Other than its high scores in Waste Disposal and Smart Building, none of Frankfurt’s other scores stood out. Ironically, it is often accused of being a concrete-heavy city with only tall buildings to offer, and it fell behind most other cities in Urban Planning. It was also found to have very slow internet and inadequate 4G LTE.
Global Rank: 33
Stuttgart scored a whopping 10.0 in Urban Planning, one of the only three cities on the list to be bestowed this honor. It also received high points like its fellow German cities in Waste Disposal and Smart Building, but none of its other scores were worth celebrating. The city seems to suffer from slow internet and inadequate 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspots. Government services seem to be under-digitalized as well.
Global Rank: 47
Germany as a whole has somehow managed to get its smart building and waste disposal right, and Bochum is no exception. This little city managed a high score (9.38) in Urban Planning which was unfortunately offset by the fact that its rank in Internet Speed is 99 out of 100. Sadly, it also ranked among the bottom 10 cities for Digitalization of Government Services.
Global Rank: 56