Gulf States Smart Cities Index

Assessment of Strategy and Execution for 10 Cities

The countries of the Gulf region of the Middle East are playing an increasingly visible role in the global development of smart cities. The aim of this Navigant Research white paper commissioned by Huawei is to provide an assessment of the current state of smart city development in the Gulf states through a detailed comparison of 10 cities. This evaluation highlights their strategies, key projects, and overall readiness to develop smart city visions. It also highlights lessons to be learned from their progress and areas where national governments, cities, and other stakeholders need to act to accelerate smart city development.

The 10 cities covered in the Gulf States Smart Cities Index were assessed on the breadth and depth of their smart or future city strategy and specific programs in areas such as digital innovation, public safety, urban mobility, energy, and sustainability. The assessment also looks at support from national governments and the extent of their partnerships and collaboration with other agencies and the private sector. A detailed comparison was made of the 10 cities to identify the current leaders and their closest challengers. The report also highlights significant work being done in a number of other cities in the Gulf region and in neighboring countries.

This Navigant Research white paper evaluates the cities in the Gulf region of the Middle East across two dimensions: Strategy and Execution. The Strategy dimension assesses each city’s vision, goals, and objectives as they relate to its smart city program. The Execution dimension assesses the city’s actual achievements—from initial projects to full-blown deployment of innovative technologies and services. Cities are profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing an objective assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of their smart city programs.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • Which cities are the leading smart cities in the Gulf region?
  • What are the key metrics used to evaluate the development of smart city programs?
  • How do the leading cities in the Gulf region compare on the key metrics?
  • What are the lessons to be learnt from the leading smart cities?
  • What are the main challenges to the further development of smart cities in the Gulf region and globally?
Who needs this report?
  • City leaders
  • Smart city program managers
  • IT, networking, and telecommunications vendors
  • Building equipment and appliance vendors
  • Smart transportation providers
  • Utilities
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Table of Contents

2. Executive Summary

2.1  Introduction

2.2  Background to the Report

2.2.1   Aims of This Study

2.2.2   Evaluation Method

2.2.3   Evaluation Criteria

2.3  Gulf States Smart Cities Index

2.3.1   Summary of Rankings

2.4  Key Messages for Government and City Leaders

2.4.1   The Importance of Leadership and Vision

2.4.2   Focus on Local Priorities and Strengths

2.4.3   Leveraging New and Existing City Development

2.4.4   Building Partnerships

2.4.5   From Infrastructure to Data

3. The Rise of the Smart City

3.1  The Importance of Cities

3.2  Defining the Smart City

3.3  A Global Development

3.4  Smart City Development in the Gulf States

3.5  Assessing the State of Smart Cities in the Gulf Region

3.5.1   Strategy and Leadership

3.5.2   Digital Innovation and Connectivity

3.5.3   Safe, Clean, Accessible Cities

3.5.4   Economic Diversification

3.5.5   Sustainability

3.5.6   From Greenfield Investment to City Innovation

3.5.7   Global Events and Global Visibility

3.6  Challenges and Barriers

3.6.1   From Vision to Execution

3.6.2   Financial

3.6.3   Building on a Digital Infrastructure

4. Background to the Assessment      

4.1  Aims of This Study

4.2  Evaluation Method

4.3  Evaluation Criteria

4.4  The Index Rankings

4.4.1   Leaders

4.4.2   Contenders

4.4.3   Challengers

4.4.4   Followers

5. Summary of the Assessment           

5.1  The Gulf States Smart Cities Index

5.2  City Rankings

5.2.1   The Leaders

5.2.2   The Contenders

5.2.3   The Challengers

5.2.4   The Followers

6. City Assessments 

6.1  Leaders

6.1.1   Dubai, UAE

6.2  Contenders

6.2.1   Abu Dhabi, UAE

6.2.2   Doha, Qatar

6.3  Challengers

6.3.1   Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

6.3.2   Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

6.3.3   Sharjah, UAE

6.3.4   Muscat, Oman

6.3.5   Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

6.3.6   Manama, Bahrain

6.4  Followers

6.4.1   Kuwait City, Kuwait

6.5  Other Notable Smart City Projects

6.5.1   Tehran, Iran

6.5.2   Amman, Jordan

6.5.3   Karachi, Pakistan

6.5.4   Lahore, Pakistan

6.5.5   Islamabad, Pakistan

6.5.6   Jubail, Saudi Arabia

6.5.7   King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

6.6  Summary of City Scores

7. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes 

List of Charts and Figures

  • Gulf States Smart Cities Index
  • City Scores on Strategy and Execution

List of Tables

  • Gulf States Smart Cities Index Overall Scores

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