Forbes ranks Houston among world's smartest cities
What makes a city smart? According to Forbes, it's not just being green. It's a combination of upward mobility, infrastructure, livability and economic fundamentals. According to Joel Kotkin, while these criteria rule out mega-cities like New York, Mexico City and Tokyo, historically it was well-placed mid-sized cities like Antwerp, Venice and Amsterdam that nurtured capitalism and built architectural wonders.
So what are the smartest cities for the 21st century? Singapore; Hong Kong; Curitiba, Brazil; Monterrey, Mexico and Amsterdam. Seattle rings in at number six, the top American city, followed closely by Houston at number seven.
"Houston's close tie to the Caribbean, as well as its dominant global energy industry, thriving industrial base, huge Texas Medical Center complex and first-rate airport, all work to its long-term advantage. Arguably the healthiest economically of America's big cities, Houston is also investing in—not just talking about—its green future; last year it was the nation's largest municipal purchaser of wind energy."
So what is the point of ranking these vastly different smart cities, aside from adding another feather to our cap? According to Forbes, it's redefining of what it means to be a smart city—making economic factors count.
"All these cities... have demonstrated their intelligence by exploiting their locations and resources to make savvy business and development decisions. At the end of the day, it will not be their clean air but their commercial prowess—as has been the case in history—that will sustain their success in the decades ahead."