September 22, 2020

Helsinki gets smart, globally

man looking at sunset from his balcony
Helsinki has been ranked one of the top three smart cities in the world, along with Singapore and Zurich.
Jussi Hellsten/ City of Helsinki

The Finnish capital has been ranked second in the Smart City Index, a comparison of cities’ technological provision worldwide.

Produced by the independent academic group IMD and the Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), the Smart City Index assessed 109 cities based on a range of economic and technological data. In addition, the ranking sourced residents’ perceptions of their city’s technological provisions in five key areas: health and safety, transport, activities, opportunities, and governance.

Helsinki’s second position represents an improvement on last year’s ranking of eighth.

According to the Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori, the results are an important barometer for achieving Helsinki’s goal to be the most functional city in the world in the midst of the challenging conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our success in this new ranking shows that we are moving determinedly in the right direction,” Vapaavuori said. “The results also indicate how the importance of technology utilisation in cities has grown during the coronavirus epidemic, in a way that will likely remain permanent. In Helsinki, we are striving continuously to confront challenges to this situation, such as preventing inequality and marginalisation.”

In order to become the world’s most functional city, the capital has identified digitalisation as the primary tool for bettering the lives of its residents, visitors, businesses and communities.

“The goal of Helsinki’s ambitious digitalisation programme is to be a city that anticipates people’s need for services on their terms,” said Mikko Rusama, Helsinki’s chief digital officer. “Over the last few years, we have launched several digitalisation projects that are related to the development of services, as well as the city’s development of its cultural, organisational, leadership and staff competencies.”

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