Riyadh soars in global smart city rankings

Riyadh ranked high by residents especially on provision of services in health and safety, as well as online access to government document processing

  
The Kingdom Tower is seen in Central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image used for illustrative purpose.

The Kingdom Tower is seen in Central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid

Riyadh has leapt up the ranking of the world’s smart cities, according to the annual survey of residents’ satisfaction conducted by the prestigious Swiss business school IMD.

The Saudi capital jumped 18 places to finish 53rd out of a total of 109 cities, one of the biggest improvements in the 2020 survey. Its new placing put the city ahead of such established global hubs as Tokyo, Rome, Paris and Beijing.

“According to the survey, which measures residents’ satisfaction in the services and technologies available in their city, the residents of Riyadh are more satisfied with their city’s offering than some of the most advanced cities of the world,” IMD said in a statement.

Riyadh ranked high by residents especially on provision of services in health and safety, as well as online access to government document processing.

Singapore came first in the 2020 survey, followed by Helsinki in Finland and Zurich in Switzerland. The US had two big risers, with New York up 28 places — the biggest improvement in 2020 — to 10th position, while Washington, D.C. jumped 19 places to 12th spot.

London rose five places to 15th as some respondents said that Brexit would make the UK capital an easier place to do business.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai both improved, rising to 42nd and 43rd, respectively in the survey results. Residents of Doha, Qatar, were not included in the survey.

Hundreds of citizens from the 109 cities were surveyed in April and May, and quizzed on the technological provisions of their cities across key areas of health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities and governance.

Riyadh is in the middle of a multibillion-dollar investment program to double its population by 2030.

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