Singapore was ranked third in the Ericsson Networked Society City Index 2016, which measures the performance of 41 cities globally based on sustainable urban development and ICT maturity.
Overall, Stockholm topped the list followed by London. Paris and Copenhagen placed fourth and fifth respectively.
In the sustainable urban development part of the index, Stockholm topped the list closely followed by Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Paris. While, London replaced Stockholm on the top spot for ICT maturity which only places second followed by Singapore on third.
Compared to 2014's index, some cities significantly moved up at the latest index including Barcelona from 18 to 13, Istanbul from 27 to 22, and Jakarta from 34 to 30.
ICT's role on socioeconomic progress and sustainable development
The index found a positive correlation between social and economic developments with increasing ICT maturity. Additionally, ICT does not only play a critical role to socioeconomic progress, but also helps facilitate sustainable development.
The index elaborated why ICT can enable sustainable development. Firstly, ICT provides billions of people practical benefits every day. Secondly, it evolves rapidly giving rise to new capabilities which could introduce sustainable solutions to replace traditional industrialisation trajectories.
Thirdly, ICT provides an innovative environment to everyone. The accessibility of tools, data, resources and market has turned innovation to a matter of ideas rather than financial power resulting to democratisation of innovation.
Lastly, analytics and data collection enable perceptive decision-making as well as insightful follow-up to goals and directions without compromising privacy.
Smart City initiatives to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals
Smart city planning will play a significant role to achieve several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the index.
As such, the index suggested some actions that could help cities go beyond smart cities and become more sustainable, such as including ICT as a basic infrastructure in the investment plans, creating enabling regulatory environments that encourage the adoption of ICT, taking holistic approaches when integrating ICT to the planning of various sectors, and collaborating with other cities.
"UN-Habitat estimates that 70 percent of the world's population will reside in urban areas by 2050. Many smart city initiatives to date have mainly used ICT to optimise existing systems and behaviours, for example, intelligent transport," said Erik Kruse, Head of Ericsson Networked Society Lab.
"Instead, cities need to rethink existing structures to fully grasp the potential of ICT to make sure that "smart" is in fact sustainable. The future Networked Society city is characterised by resiliency, collaboration, participation and mobility, which are essential for ensuring our cities are attractive, sustainable and vibrant places," he added.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.