Hanoi, HCMC fall in smart city rankings

By Nguyen Quy   September 20, 2020 | 04:25 am PT
Hanoi, HCMC fall in smart city rankings
Traffic jams on the flooded Nguyen Huu Canh Street in HCMC following heavy rains, June 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's two largest metropolises, have both fallen 18 places from last year to the bottom half of a global ranking of smart cities.

HCMC is in 83rd place and Hanoi in 84th in the 2020 Smart City Index compiled by Swiss business school International Institute for Management Development and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

The report measured 109 cities around the world based on five criteria: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities, and governance that focus on how citizens perceive the scope and impact of efforts to make their cities smart, balancing economic and technological aspects with humanitarian dimensions.

Vietnam's two major cities lag behind many Asian metropolises such as Singapore (1st), Taipei (8th), Hong Kong (32nd), Seoul (47th), Kuala Lumpur (54th), Bangkok (71st), and Beijing (82nd).

But they rank above Jakarta (94th) and Manila (104th).

The report said air pollution, road congestion and security are the biggest problems in Hanoi and HCMC.

HCMC, home to 13 million people, which began implementing a plan to transform itself into a smart city by 2020, has been struggling with severe traffic congestion for decades and the administration has responded by investing heavily in metro routes.

Authorities admit that air quality in HCMC and Hanoi have worsened in recent years due to exhaust fumes, factory smoke and construction dust.

HCMC had more than 8.1 million vehicles as of March, 763,000 of them being cars and the rest being motorbikes, while Hanoi, a city of 7.5 million, has around seven million vehicles. Severe traffic congestion during rush hours has long been a problem.

Despite efforts by authorities, public buses in both cities still fail to attract passengers.

Security in Hanoi and HCMC also remain a challenge with petty street crimes, thefts and robbery not being uncommon.

The report also says residents of both cities have showed interest in the ongoing corruption crackdown, green spaces and public transport.

The high-profile anti-corruption campaign has been spearheaded by Party Chief and President Nguyen Phu Trong. Several high-profile government officials, top military officers and businesspeople have been arrested and jailed for crimes from graft and money laundering to mismanagement in recent years.

Singapore, the world's smartest city, performs well in how services are made available to its citizens and the impact of technology on citizens' daily lives.

Helsinki is second, followed by Zurich and Auckland.

Cities bringing up the bottom of the list were Cape Town, Manila, Greece, Rio De Janeiro, Abuja, Bogota, Cairo, Nairobi, Rabat, and Lagos.

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