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The smartest cities in Germany: Hamburg just before Munich, Dresden for the first time on the podium

Hamburg wins again, but loses a lot of advantage, Munich is catching up at great speed, Dresden takes the podium for the first time and overall almost all the latecomers manage to catch up: these are the results of the Smart City Index, which the digital association Bitkom 2022 for the fourth time raised. Hamburg defended their title with 86.1 out of a possible 100 points, followed for the first time by second-placed Munich with 85.3 points, while Dresden completed the podium with a slight gap and 81.6 points. For both pursuers he is ahead by two or three positions. On the other hand, Cologne, second the previous year (4th, 79.4 points) and Karlsruhe, third in 2021 (14th, 73.5 points), fell from the podium. The top 10 came close. There are only 4.1 points between 4th and 10th place. New in the top ten are Nuremberg (6th, 77.6 points), Aachen (7th, 77.3 points) and Düsseldorf (9th, 76.6 points). Each of these three cities moved up ten places. The top 10 is completed by Stuttgart (5th, 78.1 points), Bochum (8th, 77.0 points) and Darmstadt (10th, 75.3 points).

“The Smart City Index shows the progress made in the digitization of German cities. No city has lagged behind in digitization compared to the previous year, the level has increased everywhere, but sometimes there are clear differences in the pace. Because this year too there is a great dynamic in the standings. Hamburg managed to defend their title for the third time in a row, but the lead is tighter than ever. Everything is getting closer and even the latecomers can catch up,” says Bitkom president Achim Berg.

Commitment, communication and network are success factors

The Smart City Index testifies to the high level of dynamism in the digitization of cities. There are numerous position changes in the field. A good finish is no guarantee of a good performance next year, says Berg. Successful digitization requires commitment, communication and a functioning network of local politics, business and society. “The success factors for a smart city are a committed town hall, a digital strategy, clear structures, a strong local network and the commitment of the population. This is especially true in view of the current challenges posed by the consequences of the pandemic and rising energy prices, to which digital technologies can make a key contribution,” says Berg. “Regardless of size and financial strength, it is crucial that politics and administration are involved. It takes the will and ability to generate enthusiasm for digitization throughout the city”.

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Cities in Saxony, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria do particularly well

The results of the Smart City Index differ by region. On average, cities in Saxony, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria perform significantly better than the average. Rhineland-Palatinate and Hessen are also above average, while the results of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony are below average. However, the number of cities included in the ranking also differs significantly between states: There are only three major cities in Saxony, compared to 30 in North Rhine-Westphalia. No statement can be made for federal states with fewer than three big cities. Regardless of region, college towns perform better on average.

Oldenburg and Hanover make up most of the land

The biggest climber in the overall standings is Oldenburg (67.2 points), who moved up 25 places from midfield to 31st place. Hannover recovered 21 places (70.3/24). The relegated teams of the year are Rostock (45.8 points/71st place/28 places), Jena (50.4/59/25) and Bielefeld (58.1/46th/19). Berg: “The strong movements can also be explained by the fact that no city has remained stationary and the average level has risen. So it is possible to carry out digital projects and still lose some places because others have done even more”.

Approximately 11,000 data points for 81 cities

A total of nearly 11,000 data points have been registered, audited and qualified for the Smart City Index. All 81 cities with a population of at least 100,000 inhabitants were analyzed and evaluated in the five thematic areas administration, IT and communication, energy and environment, mobility and society. The five areas are divided into 36 indicators, which in turn consist of a total of 133 parameters: from online services to the citizen, to the sharing of offers, from environmental sensors to the availability of broadband. Municipalities were actively involved in data collection. Cities were able to self-report their level of performance and had to confirm this with sources used by 85% of cities. The data was then validated by a team of Bitkom Research experts. The missing data was searched for all other cities and the cities then had the opportunity to verify it themselves. The Smart City Index is supported by Detecon, Visa, PwC and Uber.

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Smart City Index as an interactive online application

The ranking of the 81 largest German cities with the results in all sub-areas is available as an interactive online map at www.smart-city-index.de accessible.

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