Bangkok moves up in Smart City rankings

Bangkok took four steps up the global rankings of Smart Cities in results released last week by Helsinki’s Institute for Management Development and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Bangkok ranks 71st out of 109 cities in the Smart City Index for 2020. In Southeast Asia, the Thai capital trails only Singapore and the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. Singapore, with its heavy emphasis on technology, finished in first place.

“For Bangkok, 71st is actually a respectable position,” said Arturo Bris, a finance professor at the Institute for Management Development (IMD). He said that Thailand’s largest metropolis scored in the same range as several European cities.

The IMD and Singapore University surveyed hundreds of residents in each of the 109 cities to understand the issues and determine the rankings. Bangkok rose in the standings because of advances in technology. The capital has potential and room for improvement to step further up the rank in a similar manner to other urban centers in developing countries.

Bris said Bangkokians believe that their city’s technological aspects, especially those pertaining to work and school, were better than those in similar cities.

“We cannot ignore the impact of Covid-19,” said Bris, who is also the Director of the World Competitiveness Center. “Those with better technology manage the pandemic better. Smart cities are not the solution, but technology helps.”

In that respect, Bangkok is definitely top tier. The government and the people have cooperated to implement and follow public health measures that have virtually stopped the spread of the coronavirus.

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