Athens Dumbed Waaaay Down on World's Smart City Index

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, FILE)

With Greeks being many of the world's best and brightest scientists, entrepreneurs and Information Technology experts – legions who left during the country's 9 1/2-year-long economic and austerity crisis, Athens now finds itself near the bottom of the world's “smartest” cities.

That's according to the 2019 IMD Smart City Index compiled by the Swiss business school IMD and the Singapore University of Technolkogy and Design which placed Greece 95th out of 102 cities surveyed.

Greece's capital city, Athens, was ahead of only Rio de Janeiro, Abuja, Bogota, Cairo, Nairobi, Rabat and Lagos, showing the miserable state of the use of technology to improve citizens lives where even the Internet can be spotty at times.

The Top 10 smartest cities in 2019 are: Singapore (1st), Zurich (2nd), Oslo (3rd), Geneva (4th), Copenhagen (5th), Auckland (6th), Taipei City (7th), Helsinki (8th), Bilbao (9th) and Dusseldorf, Germany at 10th

The only global index of its kind, the IMD Smart City Index 2019 uniquely focuses on how citizens perceive the scope and impact of efforts to make their cities ‘smart’, balancing “economic and technological aspects” with “humane dimensions,” the report claims.

Being a globally-recognized ‘smart’ city is now critical for attracting investment and talent, creating a potential “virtuous cycle” in favor of an advanced group of cities such as Singapore, Zurich and Oslo, the authors also wrote.

“Smart cities are growing and blossoming in all parts of the world. Economic realities cannot be ignored: cities in poorer countries face disadvantages, which will require specific actions to correct along the path towards smartness,” said Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

The criteria included the application of technology in the quality of life, including environment, safety, access to health and education services, as well as mobility and social interaction, with the index finding many technologies remain largely ignored by the populations they are claiming to serve, which is an area that requires improvement in many countries.

“Smart cities are becoming magnets for investment, talent and trade,” said Bruno Lanvin, President of the IMD’s Smart City Observatory at the IMD World Competitiveness Centre.