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Shanghai. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty

One of the most over-used slogans of recent years has been "smart cities," the vision of connected, Jetsons-like future of streamlined metropolises where technology smoothly manages energy use, traffic, policing and more.

Even so, a decade after the term first gained currency, we still have no truly smart cities, says McKinsey Global Institute in a new study of 50 selected cities around the world.

What happened: One of the problems, say the study's authors, has been that cities have focused too much on the technology and too little on humans. The study emphasized that smart phones are the door to the smart city, providing all the information at one's fingertips for health, traffic, safety and news.

  • Co-author Jaana Remes tells Axios that she was surprised by how low European cities rank in much of the study.
  • In terms of establishing a strong technological base, Amsterdam and Stockholm scored high right alongside Seoul, Singapore and New York. All were praised for having "ultra-high-speed communication networks and [being] in the process of launching 5G services."
  • But Europe fall back when it came to using smart apps and especially so on being aware of smartness, according to the study.

More results:

  • In terms of having a strong technological base, no one came near the maximum 37 points. The highest was Singapore with 25 points. NYC was right behind that with 24.4 points.
  • When it comes to smart apps, NY, L.A., London, Singapore, Shenzhen and Seoul ranked the highest. There was differentiation — Europe's emphasis is mobile apps; in North America, it's health apps. Rio and Cape Town emphasized security. But, again, no one came close to the maximum 55 points: London, L.A. and NY got 34.5, and Seoul 33.
  • Asian cities scored the highest on awareness of being smart, specifically China — Beijing residents scored 24.2 out of 30, and Shanghai and Shenzhen were at 23.2.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program at which he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest-serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.