ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi is leading again the MENA cities in the use of technology to improve the quality of life for residents, according to the third edition of the annual IMD-SUTD Smart City Index (SCI). Abu Dhabi climbed 14 places to rank 28th out of 118 cities in a global ranking of smart cities as compared to 2020 in the survey where 15,000 people from 118 cities around the world participated. The index reveals that city-dwellers’ perceptions of how technology is helping to address urban challenges have been highly affected by the pandemic and its acceleration of digital transformation. "This year’s findings shed light on the tectonic shifts that have disrupted logistical chains and organizational structures worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Bruno Lanvin, President of IMD’s Smart City Observatory. Commenting on the milestone, Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport - Abu Dhabi, indicated that the UAE capital is working diligently to ensure alignment with data-driven smart sustainable cities of the future, in accordance with the visionary vision of the wise leadership. "Data-driven innovation is central to economic growth in cities, and the department is constantly working on building smart and interactive systems and platforms that focus on developing a long-term strategy that enables us to achieve the aspirations of our people, and respond to their needs," he added. The new ranking, which coincides with the approaching Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit -due to convene in the UAE next month- is reflective of the significant impact on the quality of life of the Dhabi's position as a leader in digital transformation. Taking the top three places were Singapore (1st), Zurich (2nd) and Oslo (3rd). Switzerland enjoyed three cities in the top 10 with Lausanne in 5th and Geneva in 8th place. Experts define a Smart City as ‘an urban setting that applies technology to enhance the benefits and diminish the shortcomings of urbanization for its citizens’. Access to better air quality and to health services has become a greater priority in such Smart Cities worldwide since the pandemic outbreak, the data found. © Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2021.