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Smart City INdex by ProptechOS
Laura Puttkamer4. July 20235 min read

Smart city preparedness: Which city is ready for the future?

The Swedish software company ProptechOS recently published a smart city index that not only looks at how smart a city already is, but also at how well cities are equipped for a smart future. The index shows that in Europe, London and Paris are leading the way. It also looks at cities and their preparedness to become smarter in the US. Read more about the results of the index here.

New technology needs an environment that supports it

ProptechOS is a software company that provides operating systems for real estate. In spring 2023, the company published a smart city index based on data from its cloud solutions and from other proptech apps that shows whether cities are keeping up with fast technological developments. To this end, ProptechOS has collated and aggregated many different metrics in cities in Europe and the US. These are the indicators that were used to show which city is ready for a smart future: 

1. Tech Infrastructure and Connectivity:
  • Free Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Broadband download speeds
  • Availability of airports
  • Number of IoT companies (in total and per 100,000 of the population)
  • Number of 5G network towers

2. Green Infrastructure:
  • The number of public-access electric vehicle charging points
  • The number of public access electric vehicle charging points per 10,000 of the population
  • Amount of ‘green certified’ buildings

3.    Tech-Driven Job Market:
  • The number of tech jobs
  • The number of tech jobs per 10,000 of the population

The company points out that new technology can only ever be as useful as the infrastructure and environment in cities that facilitate the use of this technology. Accordingly, technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and other innovations only work in cities that have an appropriate digital infrastructure. Therefore, this infrastructure determines the “preparedness” of a city to become smarter. 

Austin, Texas is one of the world’s smartest cities

By weighing up the different indicators, ProptechOS has determined several cities that are well-prepared for a smart, digital future. The highest-ranking cities in the United States are Austin, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington DC, Dallas, and New York City. Austin in Texas tops the ranking due to high scores in technology infrastructure and green infrastructure. The city also has a very high number of publicly accessible charging for electric vehicle charging stations (8th place among all compared cities). 

Overall, US cities rank much higher for tech job market availability than European cities. Washington DC, Minneapolis, and Oakland lead the ranking of having the widest array of tech job availability. In the US capital, there are over 70,500 tech jobs currently hiring, while Minneapolis and Oakland each offer more than 55,000 tech jobs. The three cities have between 1,000 and 1,300 tech jobs per 10,000 overall jobs.

Paris and London are the ones to watch out for in Europe

In Europe, smart cities tend to score lower averages than US cities when it comes to smart city potential. This is due to factors such as fewer tech jobs and less green infrastructure. At the same time, there tends to be more tech and connectivity infrastructure for the city of the future in European cities. 

However, two cities outrank even some of the most prepared US cities: London and Amsterdam. ProptechOS has found that London is the top European city in terms of smart city potential. The British capital scores highly with its technology and connectivity infrastructure, such as the highest number of 5G towers of all cities compared. Its green infrastructure, for example, the many publicly accessible EV charging stations and its green-certified buildings, is another part of the reason for the high ranking. While London lags behind a bit on the tech-driven job market, it still offers many tech job vacancies. 

Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Lisbon, Oslo, Budapest, Dublin, Madrid, and Helsinki are the other European cities that make up the top 10 in the ProptechOS rating on smart city potential. They all score best in the indicator for technology infrastructure with similar numbers in green infrastructure, whereas the tech job market indicator tends to score lower numbers. 

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Paris in particular shows that there is a lot of potential on this continent. Even though the French capital does not achieve any high scores, it consistently scores above average in most of the ProptechOS categories. Therefore, Paris has one of the best-rounded scores. It offers a high number of free public Wi-Fi hotspots and many Internet of Things companies that have their headquarters in Paris. 

Therefore, ProptechOS points out that Paris and London are important European cities to look out for. They are ready to take their smartness to the next level. 

A good overview of US and European smart cities

To report on the potential of smart cities, ProptechOS worked with a list of 100 cities from Europe and the US that included capital cities and most populated cities. At first, the software company wanted to use a list of 18 indicators based on the OECD’s recommendations for smart cities. However, the company ended up using a lower number of indicators and narrowed down the OECD definitions to ensure a fair like-for-like comparison between different cities. 

To rank and compare, each metric was scored and normalised out of 100. It was then equally weighted to a score of 100 for each parent category. This allowed ProptechOS to calculate a final overall score per city that could easily be compared to other cities. The index for smart city potential focuses on European and US cities. Despite missing the other continents, it provides a fascinating insight into the preparedness and also the current state of smart city technologies in different cities. 



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Laura Puttkamer

Laura is an urban journalist focusing on inspiring solutions stories from all over the world. She has a MSc in Global Urban Development and currently lives in London.