Johannesburg has been ranked as the top city in Africa in terms of sustainable urban development and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies).
Johannesburg was ranked 35th on the Ericsson Networked Society City Index. Only two other African cities made the list – Cairo at 37th and Lagos at 40th.
Despite taking the top spot in Africa, Johannesburg has dropped several positions from 29th in 2014.
The index measures the performance of 41 cities from around the world from two perspectives: sustainable urban development and ICT maturity.
Stockholm is ranked number one in the sustainable urban development part of the index, closely followed by Copenhagen, Helsinki and Paris. London ranks top in the ICT part of the index, replacing Stockholm, which now ranks second before Singapore on third place.
This year’s index found a positive correlation between social and economic development and increasing ICT maturity.
ICT is not only critical to socioeconomic progress, but can help decouple this progress from an increased environmental footprint in favour of more sustainable development.
According to Ericsson, smart city planning will be critical to achieving several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, cities will be instrumental for the advancement of climate action, poverty reduction, better health and education, as well as improved social and financial inclusion.
A number of actions are essential for cities to go beyond smart cities of today and become more sustainable: including ICT as a basic infrastructure in the investment plans; creation of enabling regulatory environments that encourage the adoption of ICT; holistic approaches to integrating ICT across various sector planning, such as transport, energy and public safety; and collaboration between cities.
The future of smart cities
Erik Kruse, Head of Ericsson Networked Society Lab, says: “Many smart city initiatives to date have mainly used ICT to optimize existing systems and behaviours, for example, intelligent transport.
“Instead, cities need to rethink existing structures to fully grasp the potential of ICT to make sure that ‘smart’ is in fact sustainable. The future Networked Society city is characterised by resiliency, collaboration, participation and mobility, which are essential for ensuring our cities are attractive, sustainable and vibrant places.”