【DE】Germany’s smartest cities: Hamburg expands a head start, persecutors move closer together


▪ Cologne rises to second place, Karlsruhe displaces Munich from the podium and the promoters Dresden, Bochum and Freiburg mix up the top 10

▪ Smart City Index shows close top group – places 3 and 10 separate only 4 points


Hamburg manages the title hat trick and expands its lead, Cologne confidently advances to second place and behind it there is a densely crowded chaser field. This is the result of the Smart City Index, which the Digital Association collected and presented for the third time in 2021. Hamburg defends first place with 88.1 out of 100 possible points and has further distanced the competition. Cologne follows second with 79.3 points, behind Karlsruhe secures a place on the podium with 73.2 points. For both pursuers, it goes up one or two places. Instead, Munich, which was still ranked second last year, falls from the top 3 and ranks 4th with 72.7 points. The lead over the direct pursuer is close with two tenths: Darmstadt ranks fifth with 72.5 points. Three promoters mix up the top 10: Dresden (71.5 points) climbs to 6th place by 18 places. Bochum (71.2) increases eleven places and is at 7. Freiburg im Breisgau (60.1) improves by five positions to 10th place.

The Smart City Index highlights various trends in the digitization of major German cities. On the one hand, Hamburg can underpin its top position and distance the competition, which also applies with compromises to the worst pursuer Cologne. On the other hand, the cities placed behind it move closer together. Only 4 points separate the third and tenth place winners, says Bitkom President Achim Berg. Hamburg has once again been able to expand its dominance of previous years and scores with the peak for the first time in four out of five categories. The Hanseatic city has more than earned first place.”


Commitment, communication and network are success factors

The Smart City Index testifies to a high dynamic in the digitization of cities. There are numerous position changes in the field. A good placement is not a guarantee for a good performance next year, says Berg. Successful digitization requires commitment, communication and a functioning network. Success factors for a smart city are a committed town hall, a digital strategy, clear structures, a well-connected local network and the participation of the population. Even more important than solid finances are the will in politics and administration and the ability to arouse enthusiasm for digitization throughout the city.”


Topics show Hidden Champions

The detailed analysis makes visible strengths of individual cities that do not occupy a top position in the overall ranking. Mannheim (2nd in this category), Nuremberg (3rd), Heidelberg (4th) and Osnabrück (10th) are leaders in administration. In addition to Heidelberg (2nd), Darmstadt (4th) and Solingen (5th) also play their strengths in energy and the environment. Gelsenkirchen (4th), Regensburg (9th) and Kiel (10th) occupy top positions in the field of IT and communication. In addition to Berlin (2nd), Bochum (3rd) and Düsseldorf (4th) Dresden (6th) and Aachen (9th) also have a pronounced mobility profile. Leipzig (4th), Trier (6th), Jena (7th), Münster (8th) and Chemnitz (10th) can score points in the Society category.


Cities in Baden-Württemberg perform above average

Depending on the region, the results of the Smart City Index differ. Cities in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony perform better than average on average, in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia the results are worse. There are no differences between the cities in East and West Germany. Although East German cities have a weaker digital infrastructure on average, they can compensate for this in the overall rating with better results in social activities. As the best city in East Germany, Dresden (71.5 points/6. place) prevailed over Leipzig (64.5/14.). Jena (55.8/34.) ranks third by some distance.

Neuss, Trier, Regensburg and Rostock do the most soil well

The biggest climber is Neuss (49.2 points), who climbs 24 positions from the rear ranks to midfielder number 48. Make 23 places well eachTrier (62.4/20th) and Regensburg (57.7/31st). Rostock (49.9/43.) rises by 22 ranks. The relegated of the year are Magdeburg (41.7 points/66. Rank/ 20 places), Frankfurt am Main (49,3/47. / 22), Göttingen (42.6/63./-23) and Bremen (45.0/57. / 23). Berg: “The strong shifts are also explained by the fact that no city has remained idle and the level has risen on average. This makes it possible to drive digital projects forward and still lose a few places because others have done even more.” Bremerhaven (28.8 points), Bergisch Gladbach (26.7) and Salzgitter (25.6) rank at the end of the overall ranking.



Around 11,000 data points for 81 cities

For the Smart City Index, experts from Bitkom Research have collected, verified and qualified a total of almost 11,000 data points. All 81 cities with at least 100,000 inhabitants were analyzed and evaluated in the five subject areas of administration, IT and communication, energy and environment, mobility and society. The five areas are divided into 36 indicators, which in turn consist of a total of 133 parameters – from online citizen services to sharing offers for mobility and intelligent garbage cans to broadband availability. Before publication, the cities were given the opportunity to check and supplement the data. 79 percent of cities have made use of this option. The Smart City Index is supported by Deutsche Telekom, Microsoft and Visa.


Smart City Index as an interactive online application

The ranking of the 81 major German cities with the results in all subareas is available as an interactive online map at www.smart-city-index.de.


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