Why is Stockholm the best city in the world?

At the top of the list comparing 31 cities around the world on aspects of ICT maturity, economy, social development and environmental progress is Stockholm, capital of Sweden, followed closely by London, Singapore and Paris. These are the top-ranking cities in the Networked Society City Index a valuable asset for analyzing the correlation between triple bottom line performance and ICT maturity in cities.


How affordable are communication services in these cities? Are the networks future proof and how well are the mobile and broadband networks performing from an end-user perspective? And perhaps most important, to what extent are the city and its inhabitants utilizing the investments made in ICT? These are all aspects measured and compared in the ICT Maturity part of the index.

The socioeconomic and environmental development of these cities is measured in a very straight forward and classic way, with the intention not to deviate much from other indices measuring the same dimension. It turns out Stockholm scores high in all of these dimensions, thus ending up on top. For me, two things come to mind regarding Stockholm - its cleanliness and its early adoption of ICT.

The city has a large service sector which accounts for roughly 85 percent of all jobs, and in combination with the near total absence of heavy industry, makes Stockholm one of the world’s cleanest metro areas.

Furthermore, Stockholm has a long track record of focused initiatives to drive the progress of ICT infrastructure. In the early 1990s, the city adopted an ambitious plan to provide fiber access to both homes and businesses. Last year, the target of having every multi-tenant building connected to fiber was reached, making Stockholm one of the most fiber-dense cities in the world. Also worth mentioning is the fact that Stockholm was the first city in the world to introduce 4G/LTE mobile services in a tie with the Norwegian capital, Oslo.


So, why do we do this? It’s actually quite simple. The Networked Society City Index aims to inspire city leaders to use ICT to make their cities more attractive, prosperous and sustainable.

In addition to the actual ranking, the City Index contains policy recommendations for local leaders and several inspiring cases from each of the 31 cities on how they have tackled issues such as traffic congestion, crime, air pollution, and city planning. Other cases describe how these cities have gained efficiencies by digitalizing health records and library collections, and what is gained by introducing smart metering of water and electricity. I find these change initiatives truly inspirational.

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