Which cities are best prepared for the future?

Sheila Zabeu -

October 29, 2021

London is the smartest and most future-proof city, followed by New York and San Francisco in the United States in a ranking of urban centers with populations of more than 3 million people. Copenhagen, in Denmark, is the best in this ranking, followed by Stockholm, in Sweden, and Oslo, in Norway, when populations between 600,000 and 3 million people are considered.

The report, conducted by EasyPark Group, reveals which cities are adopting technological solutions to improve their housing conditions and sustainability. “As the world faces challenges related to climate change, some of the most technologically advanced cities around the world have already adopted innovative solutions and services to optimize traffic flow and facilitate mobility and thus become more livable,” says Johan Birgersson, CEO of EasyPark Group.

The report drew on data from sources such as the World Bank, The Economist, International Monetary Fund, and Lancet to establish the factors that determine how technologically advanced and sustainable a city can be. The four main areas considered were:

  • Digital Life – Assesses the extent of technology adoption by the population, government, and the healthcare sector. It also looks at the success and reputation of technology education institutions.
  • Innovation in mobility – Analyses innovation in parking solutions, traffic management systems, including public transport, and cleanliness of transport modes.
  • Infrastructure for technology business – measures the level of business innovation, the prevalence of electronic payments, and the quality of the Internet connection.
  • Environmental sustainability – Evaluates the use of renewable energy, the number of green buildings, the waste management system, planning, and response to climate change.
Source: EasyPark Group

More of the ranking

Among the top-scoring large cities in terms of their use of energy from renewable sources are Rio de Janeiro, Seattle, and Montreal.

Those that have excelled in the adoption of new technologies are San Francisco, New York, and Seoul, South Korea.

In the most developed parking ecosystem, London and Manchester in the UK and Berlin came in the first place.

More of London

London, the champion of the EasyPark Group’s ranking of cities with more than 3 million people, has also recently moved forward with more action focused on quality of life and sustainability – it has expanded the area covered by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to now cover a quarter of the UK capital. The new region is 18 times the original size of the current restricted central London zone and covers 3.8 million people.

The aim of the expanded ULEZ is to help reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions by around 30%. Many of those driving in this region have already taken steps to make their vehicles less polluting. More than 80 percent are already compliant with the set standards, which is a 39 percent increase from February 2017 when plans for the zone expansion were announced. Governors are committed to applying the money raised from fines to improve the transport network (cycle paths, buses, and underground) and help improve London’s air quality.

More of New York

Thinking about making the city even better, the Regional Plan Association (RPA), a non-profit group that advocates and plans for a more resilient New York metropolitan area, released a report calling for a “total transformation” of city streets in response to challenges such as storm response, economic development, alternative people and freight transportation.

According to the study, three specific systems can work together to improve quality of life: transport systems, such as cycle paths and bus lanes; social systems, such as open streets to support economic opportunities; and natural systems, such as community gardens, which can help reduce risks of water and climate crises.