The Smart-City Ranking 2023 by Haselhorst Associates Consulting reveals that Munich takes the top spot, showcasing its exemplary management of urban transformation. The city successfully provides its residents with a solid foundation for a good quality of life, surpassing the previous leader Hamburg. Following closely in third place, as it did last year, is Cologne. Since 2018, the ranking has been annually examining the largest cities in Germany with populations exceeding 30,000, making it the most comprehensive analysis of its kind. A total of 409 municipalities are evaluated.
Munich tops Smart City Ranking with 47.9%
Munich currently achieves a Smart City Index of 47.9%, making it the leading city in terms of smart city development. Hamburg follows closely with 47.5%, and Cologne with 45.8%. Heidelberg secures the fourth position with 45.3%, while Wolfsburg takes the fifth place with 43.0%. Gelsenkirchen ranks sixth with 42.8%, and Mannheim seventh with 42.6%. These rankings highlight the progress and commitment of these cities towards implementing smart city strategies and infrastructure.
The remaining top 10 positions are occupied by Norderstedt (41.2 percent), Darmstadt (41.1 percent), and Bad Nauheim (40.5 percent). Apart from Heidelberg, all cities were able to maintain their rankings among the top 10 smartest cities in Germany from 2022.
Heidelberg has made it onto the top rankings for the first time this year, after being ranked 27th last year. This significant rise is attributed to the improvement in digital infrastructure, which has increased from 4 percent in 2022 to 89 percent now.
German cities making progress towards sustainable development
Dr. Lucia Wright, Project Manager at Haselhorst Associates Consulting, welcomes the positive results of the ranking and highlights the progress made in German cities. She emphasizes that the majority has realized the importance of aligning ecology, social justice, and economic viability, and is taking action towards urban transformation.
Dr. Lucia Wright emphasizes that the lack of cities reaching a Smart-City-Grade of 50 percent in 2023 is not a critical factor. Instead, the focus should be on the continuous development and implementation of comprehensive and well-founded approaches in urban transformation. The progress made by cities in adopting holistic strategies is more important than achieving a specific percentage.
Long-term analysis confirms reduction in cities without smart city strategies
The Long-term analysis of the ranking results confirms Wright’s conclusion. The number of cities that have not pursued any strategic approaches to smart city development has significantly decreased.
Currently, fewer than 20 cities can be assigned to this category, compared to over 40 municipalities in 2022. At the same time, an increasing number of cities belong to the group of “Experienced” with a Smart City grade of 37.5 to 50.0 percent. This year, there are 15 cities in this category, compared to only eight last year.
Increased data usage drives urban transformation
The increased utilization of data in urban areas is attributed by Lucia Wright as the driving force behind this positive trend. More and more cities are recognizing the importance of a holistic approach in the areas of strategy and foundation.
In order to effectively address the challenges of urban transformation, it is crucial for cities to move away from silo-thinking in data usage. The sharing and integration of information among different departments within a municipality is essential. By adopting a holistic approach, cities can optimize internal processes and significantly improve the efficiency of tackling urban transformation. Unfortunately, many cities still lack the necessary strategic framework to achieve this.
German cities make progress in smart transformation
The latest Smart City Ranking demonstrates the ongoing improvement of German cities in terms of smart transformation. While no city has yet achieved the ideal Smart City Grade of 100 percent, it is encouraging to see an increasing number of cities adopting holistic approaches and continuously developing their strategic measures.
The increased use of data and interconnectivity within cities is crucial for the success of urban transformation. It is essential that more cities follow this example and optimize their internal processes to provide citizens with an even better quality of life.