The smartest city in Latin America? This one may surprise you

Wed, 2013-12-11 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Fast Company is working its way around the world using a "smart cities wheel" methodology to quantify intelligence in cities. We’ve listed the previously announced winners in North America and Asia/Pacific below. The latest rankings target Latin America, where you might think Rio de Janeiro, Bogota or even Mexico City would take top honors.

But that's not the case. Series author Boyd Cohen even admitted some surprise that Santiago, Chile – a city plagued by contaminated air, traffic congestion and urban sprawl – came out in the No. 1 spot when all the indicators he measures were counted up. To be fair, Cohen notes that most of the cities on the list struggle with traffic congestion and urban sprawl.

So what makes Santiago so smart? Here are two reasons cited in the article:

  • Attractive to business. With the least government corruption of any Latin American city – coupled with low inflation and a stable economy – Cohen says Santiago has developed an admirable entrepreneurial ecosystem.

  • Stakeholder support. In the past year, Cohen notes, several key stakeholders have signed onto the smart cities bandwagon and several events have focused on building a smart city vision and implementing pilot projects, from smart grids to traffic sensors and control centers.

Read more about all the cities highlighted in the Fast Company rankings and the methodology used. Scroll down for the winners' list to date by region.

8 smartest cities in Latin America

  1. Santiago, Chile
  2. Mexico City, Mexico
  3. Bogota, Colombia
  4. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  6. Curitiba, Brazil
  7. Medellin, Colombia
  8. Montevideo, Uruguay

10 smartest cities in Asia Pacific

  1. Seoul, South Korea
  2. Singapore
  3. Tokyo, Japan
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Auckland, New Zealand
  6. Sydney, Australia
  7. Melbourne, Australia
  8. Osaka, Japan
  9. Kobe, Japan
  10. Perth, Australia

10 smartest cities in North America

  1. Seattle, Washington
  2. Boston, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California (tie)
  3. Washington, D.C
  4. New York City, N.Y.
  5. Toronto, Canada
  6. Vancouver, Canada
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Chicago, Illinois
  9. Montreal, Canada

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