Hanoi earned the 97th position in a global smart city ranking, up three places compared to last year, while HCM City slid down two places to 105th.

Vietnam's two entries in the list of 142 cities around the world in the Institute of Management Development's Smart City Index 2024 were both given the scores of CC (just above C and D, which are the lowest scores).

The index assesses the perceptions of residents (120 residents in each city) on issues related to "Structures" and "Technology applications" available to them in their city, with each pillar being evaluated over five key areas: health and safety, mobility, activities , opportunities and governance.

Both Hanoi and HCM City received a rather poor score of CCC in the Technology aspect, while in terms of Structures, the capital city, Hanoi fared a little better than the southern economic center (CC compared to CCC).

Some influences on the evaluation include dissatisfaction with air quality, public transport infrastructure, and corruption among city officials in the two cities.

For Hanoi residents, according to the index, the top five concerns are air pollution (74 per cent), road congestion (66.8 per cent), corruption/transparency (47.7 per cent), basic amenities (42.8 per cent) and affordable housing (38.1 per cent). For HCM City, on the other hand, congestion overwhelmed the list of concerns, followed by air pollution, affordable housing, basic amenities and unemployment.

The overwhelming majority of the residents researchers were willing to concede personal data to improve congestion and were comfortable with facial recognition technologies to tackle crime issues.

84.6 per cent of the respondents in HCM City and 91.8 per cent in Hanoi said they felt increased trust in authorities thanks to availability of online information.

Respondents in both cities said more than half of their everyday payment transactions are non-cash (73.5 per cent in Hanoi, and 68.1 per cent in HCM City).

The top ten smartest cities included only two in Asia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi (UAE), the rest were dominated by European cities, with Zurich (Switzerland) leading the pack.

Other than outlier Singapore, ASEAN countries' capital cities are not doing well in the rankings, with Jakarta at 103rd (down one place), Bangkok at 84th (up four places), and Manila at 121st (down six places).

Guatemala, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Beirut were among the lowest scored in the ranking this year.

The report emphasized that, similar to other economic entities, cities must formulate and implement strategies capable of withstanding the challenges of an increasingly uncertain future.

It is crucial that these strategies enhance the resilience of cities without sacrificing their core goals, aspirations and principles.

Concerns regarding health remain paramount, while those pertaining to climate change escalate. Furthermore, these challenges are further complicated by the resurgence of international tensions, spanning both economic and geopolitical realms. — VNS