Berlin and Copenhagen were in the running, but it was Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that won the year's top smart city honors at the recent Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
The judging panel lauded the Rio municipal government's efforts to undertake a radical transformation of the city and cited the deployment of a long-term project to turn the city into a smart benchmark in the Southern Hemisphere.
"It is a huge honor for us to win the World Smart City Award 2013, especially here in Barcelona, a city that sets an example in this area," said Pedro Paulo, the city's chief of staff. "Rio is an amazing city, but full of daily challenges."
Paulo added: "This means that Latin American cities have good experiences to share with the world."
Initiatives called out include Rio's Operations Center that allows permanent monitoring what is happening in the city; you can learn more the center that was set up by Council Lead Partner IBM here. Also cited was the city's initiative to develop an integrated transport system to improve mobility around the favelas (slums) in Rio's Maré district.
In the Project category, the award went to Mitsubishi's Funabashi Mori-no-City Futuristic Hometown, a large-scale urban development project in the Prefecture of Chiba (Greater Tokyo Area), incorporating schemes for innovative environmental technology and community development to promote an energy-conserving mindset among residents.
Barcelona's Fab Lab won the award in the Initiative category for Smart Citizen - Crowdsensing Open Community, a platform for citizens to share real-time data captured by any device or sensor.