The 500 largest cities in the USA are evaluated by the “Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities”

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Results were presented during the international event Smart City Expo World Congress 2019

Held from November 19th to 21th to an estimated public of twenty-five thousand people from over 700 cities worldwide, the last edition of Smart City Expo World Congress received, in first hand, the US version of the pioneer initiative Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities. Developed through a partnership between Leading Cities and Bright Cities, the diagnosis tool evaluated the 500 largest American cities, indicating how close they are in reaching sustainability, resiliency and equity, thus becoming a Smart City.

Watch the presentation of the Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities during SCEWC 2019:

The Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities presentation at 2019 Smart City Expo World Congress


Combining Leading Cities’ pioneering tools and network of global smart city experts with Bright Cities’ innovative diagnostic technology, The Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities represents a dramatic shift in the way we measure a city’s transformation to a “smart city.” This tool uses data science applied to publicly available data to analyze a city’s performance against 32 indicators from ten dimensions of a smart city: Governance, Economy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Health, Mobility, Security, Technology and Urbanization. Rated cities are categorized on a scale ranging from A+ to F.

Unlike the traditional smart city rankings that have become commonplace around the world, the Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities does not automatically assign a top score giving the public a much more accurate understanding of where a city falls on the spectrum of city “smartness.” Instead, an ‘ideal city’ is established from compiling the highest achieved scores in each indicator, thus providing a realistic goal for all cities to achieve.

Not only no U.S. city scored an A+ rating, smart city leaders recognized that smaller cities have taken the lead and achieved better results in the assessment.

The highest rated cities, achieving an A- rating, were Centennial, Colorado; Newton, Massachusetts; Pleasanton, California; and San Ramon, California. These cities demonstrate that bigger is not always better. Though much attention globally on Smart City projects have focused on marquis cities, like New York, London, Toronto and Barcelona, smaller cities achieved outstanding results in this first version of the Leading Cities Rating powered by Bright Cities.

Find out how the Rating works:


“This first publication of our full rating is no doubt unexpected” said Michael Lake, President and CEO of Leading Cities, “but this highlights the real opportunity for Smart City solution providers to focus on the more agile, less bureaucratic partners in smaller cities. The results of this rating system are an indicator that larger cities may need to turn to smaller counterparts to move city governments into the future of the Smart City. To learn more about the results, visit here. Or, to download the sample report:

Though the United States remains the world’s greatest launchpad for smart city startups, the rate of implementation among U.S. cities is far lower than adoption rates in places like Europe where the European Union has invested hundreds of billions to make its cities smarter. American cities are at a global disadvantage resulting from the lack of federal funding to support smart city solutions and infrastructure upgrades.

Earlier in 2019, the Smart Cities and Communities Act was reintroduced by members of both houses of US Congress. A similar bill failed to pass in 2017 after stalling in committee. If passed now, the Smart Cities and Communities Act would provide approximately $200 million a year for five years to advance the implementation of smart city solutions around the country.

“Utilizing data science technology and fundamentally shifting from a ranking to a rating system provides a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges cities face as they prepare for continued urbanization, sea-level rise and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Raquel Cardamone, CEO of Bright Cities.

Bright Cities is a disruptive platform for diagnosing city’s roadmap to become a smarter city every day. Using a pioneering methodology, it gathers, analyzes and connects data from various sources to trace diagnoses about cities performances of any size and nationality in ten areas of expertise. From there, the platform establishes a roadmap, listing priority actions, schedules and budgets to improve the life quality of residents, public services and government. Through a gradual evolution, each city analyzed can become more efficient and intelligent until it is fully converted into a smart city. To know more about our methodology and find out how your city can become a smart city, click here.