Milan Italy’s “smartest city”

Result of annual ICityLab survey.

Milan again comes in first of 106 Italian provincial capitals in the annual ICityRate ranking by authoritative think-tank ForumPA, holding the lead for another year.

The survey measures the “smartness” or forward-looking assets of leading cities against 105 statistical indicators, grouped into seven categories: economy, living, environment, people, mobility, governance and legality.

Milan’s strength lies above all in the economy category: it is the Italian city with the highest added value per capita, the highest patent intensity, the headquarters of more large companies, and has in recent years launched the most number of Fablab and maker-space start-up opportunities.

Digital artisans choose Milan, states the report, and the city in turn chooses to invest in an urban innovation model that focuses on new forms of collaborative economy and social innovation.

On the down side, Milan ranks less well in the categories environment and particularly legality, where the city is handicapped by lower scores in security, corruption, efficiency of the justice system and levels of criminality.

Bologna takes second place again this year, thanks particularly to smart governance, while Venice, a new entry among the leaders, has overtaken Florence in the top four. They have all left Rome behind in 27th place, by an even wider margin than in 2015.

In the commentary to the statistical report, ForumPA says the paradigm of Smart City in recent years has shifted the emphasis from technological to social innovation, co-design and the management of common assets

Among the 84 new variables introduced this year are the ability of cities to receive and manage migration flows, attract brains and talent and create innovative businesses, attract European funding for research and innovation, make public information available, facilitate the social use of public spaces, enable networks for sustainability and smart policies, and ensure adequate levels of safety and legality.