Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Tech Capitals of the World: Top Ten Digital Cities

The Melbourne Age has compiled an interesting Top Ten Digital Cities List, and 6 of the ‘tech capitals’ of the world are in Asia.

The top 10 digital cities are ranked according to the following criteria: Broadband speed, cost and availability; Wireless internet access; Technology adoption; Government support for technology; Education and technology culture and Future potential. Arjun Ramachandran writes:

Asian cities scored well on broadband speed and availability, mainly because they have concentrated populations in a small land area. Seoul’s excellent wireless coverage, along with government programs such as Seoul Digital City, gave the city top billing.

Stockholm, San Francisco and Silicon Valley lack the affordability of fast broadband in Asian cities but enjoy high levels of education and a culture in favour of technology. In New York, a leading financial hub, access to wireless hotspots is also exceedingly good.

Tallinn and Beijing are cities to watch. Tallinn’s government already leads the way in e-government, while Beijing continues to roll out technology through the city ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Upon completion, New Songdo will likely be the ultimate digital city. Even as a work in progress, it makes the list.

© Benjamin Heine


ben-digital-divide.jpg1. Seoul, Korea

2. Singapore

3. Tokyo, Japan

4. Hong Kong

5. Stockholm, Sweden

6. San Francisco and Silicon Valley, USA

7. Tallinn, Estonia

8. New York, USA

9. Beijing, China

10. New Songdo City

New Songdo City?, I hear you ask. As well you might — New Songdo City is a $31 billion city-in-the-making 60 km south of Seoul. Due for completion in 2010, it is an ambitious development on 600 hectares of reclaimed land that will be one of the world’s first cities in which all information systems are linked. One wonders: where do the Luddites go?

Read the Age article for more.

Conversely, also check out this interesting and important overview article on the global Digital Divide featured at Ben’s place

10 comments on “Tech Capitals of the World: Top Ten Digital Cities

  1. Ben Heine
    20 June, 2007

    Very interesting, thanks a lot

  2. peoplesgeography
    20 June, 2007

    Ben, I found that Digital Divide article you originally attached to this great cartoon very interesting as well. I forwarded it to people researching the area.

  3. michaelgreenwell
    21 June, 2007

    i spent a lot of time in south korea and can vouch for it being very techno. in fact, the laptop i am using now is korean!

  4. michaelgreenwell
    21 June, 2007

    so i have to put little stickers on the keys because i changed the configuration!

  5. peoplesgeography
    21 June, 2007

    Hi Michael,

    So what is techno life like? I’d love to visit there, and happen to live right near a Sydney suburb that is a little South Korea, and its great, they’re cool people. Korean products, shops and restaurants abound. The only phrase I can say in Korean is (phonetically) An Yung Ha Sai Yo (probably terrible transliteration).

    An Yung Ha Sai Yo to you!

  6. michaelgreenwell
    21 June, 2007

    the correct transliteration is annyeong haseyo

    they are nice people on the whole but i had real problems with my boss and so i didnt have the best time there. it is also not a particularly beautiful country although that is not reall there fault. it was flattened in the war so most of the buildings,. although very nice inside, look like the back of a fridge from the outside

  7. peoplesgeography
    21 June, 2007

    Thanks for the transliteration. Sorry to hear it didn’t work out. Are you knocking that architectural style “back of a fridge”? Just being facetious. :P It’s actually quite an important observation and reminder of the devastation of war and impacts still felt.

  8. D. Peace
    22 June, 2007

    Ooo.. take that, Bismarck, North Dakota!

    Yeah, you think you’re all big and bad just because you’re the toast of the town in North Dakota. Well, you ain’t nothin!

    Seriously, though, I’m not surprised SF and NY are on that list. They are highly evolved cities, bar none. They’re also really expensive and difficult to live in (money’s a bitch).

    The explanation as to why Asian cities scored well makes sense, as well.

  9. peoplesgeography
    22 June, 2007

    :D And there’s the rub — the expense and liveability of a city also weighs in as you point out, Mr Peace.
    The most wired up cities are often also highly congested and polluted, with the effects of EMR from wireless devices, cell phones and towers etc still not fully understood.
    Maybe living in Bismarck and not a top ten Cyborg City has its benefits after all

  10. D. Peace
    22 June, 2007

    Hey, there you go! I live in rural Pennsylvania, so if anyone can relate to that, it’s me.

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This entry was posted on 20 June, 2007 by in Arts, Asia, Blogosphere, China, Cities, Democracy, Development, Digital Commons, Eastern Europe, Europe, Globalisation, ICT, Iraq, IT, Korea, UK, USA.

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