Newcastle named UK’s smartest city in global Smart City Index

04 November 2021

The ranking measures how smart technology improves the lives of communities.

Climbing two places from last year’s index ranking to 21st, Newcastle has usurped both London and Manchester to claim the title of the UK’s smartest city. Globally, Singapore was ranked in first, ahead of Swiss city Zürich in second and Norwegian capital Oslo in third.

The Smart City Index surveys approximately 120 residents from each city on how technology has improved their lives.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Our reliance on technology has never been greater, as we can all attest to our experiences from the Covid-19 pandemic. Our city is home to some of world’s best and brightest organisations and businesses when it comes to pioneering technological research, and we are constantly striving to implement new technologies for the benefit of our residents. It gives me enormous pride that what takes place in Newcastle is being recognised on a global scale, and to be the leading UK city is testament to the work that takes place within the city.”

“By far the most pleasing element is that these rankings are compiled based on the feedback of residents, and it is brilliant to see people’s admiration for the progress being made in Newcastle.”

Jen Hartley, Director of Invest Newcastle, said: “The international spotlight is really on Newcastle. This position is testament to our ability to compete on a world stage as a leading destination to live, work and invest. Our smart city eco-system is not only critical to the future of our economy, but also making life more liveable for our residents. In recognition of our city’s strengths, we have seen an influx of digital and tech businesses relocating to the city – creating hundreds of valuable jobs and contributing to the growth of our economy. As the UK’s smartest city and with a fast-growing tech cluster, I have no doubt that investor confidence will go from strength to strength.”

“We are renowned for our approach to public and private sector collaboration to help people live smarter and healthier and this accolade is testament to this work and its impact on local residents.”

Newcastle has a thriving digital sector, at the heart of which lies the iconic Newcastle Helix, home to the National Innovation Centre for Data and the Urban Observatory, both national players in the world of data and research.

Last month,, created following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic by partners including Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University, Hedgehog Lab and the Urban Observatory to give residents real-time information on the city centre, was refreshed and relaunched in another example of the digital prowess of the city.  Visitors to the site can now see the real-time locations of all buses from different operators across the city, helping residents make sustainable travel choices.

Other UK cities to make the list include London (22), Leeds (24), Manchester (26), and Glasgow (49).

Some 15,000 city dwellers were surveyed globally in July across 118 cities. They were asked how their respective cities were doing regarding health and safety; mobility; activities; work and school; and governance. Statements that they were asked to agree or disagree with included: ‘Recycling services are satisfactory’, ‘Public safety is not a problem’ and ‘Air pollution is not a problem’.

The Smart City Index is compiled by the Smart City Observatory to offer a balanced take on the economic and technological aspects of Smart Cities and more humane dimensions of urban living, such as quality of life and inclusiveness.

Find out more about the Smart City Index here.