Pisa and Florence are on the podium for their economic characteristics, Siena in Italy’s top city in terms of quality of life. These are the results of the 2013 rankings for smart cities carried out by ICity Lab, an initiative launched by Forum PA – the public relations and institutional communication company. ICityRate, this is the name of the ranking system, which collects more than 100 indicators useful to describing the Italian urban system, measuring them in the 103 chief towns. For each, a six-dimensional picture emerges: economy, environment, mobility, governance, quality of life, and social capital. The 2013 ranking rewards, in first place, Trento, followed by Bologna and Milan: these are the three Italian cities that, when considering all six factors, occupy the top three ranks of the general ranking. Among the Tuscan towns, Florence ranks seventh, Siena thirteenth, and Pisa twentieth. If only the metropolitan cities are considered instead, Florence ranks third after Bologna and Milano.

The difficult economic outlook, the analysis of the ICity Lab data explains, obviously influences the readings of the indicators considered, and the steps forwards accomplished by the chief cities in the various sectors. As relates to the economic factor, one reads in the report, the most positive values pertain to those cities that “hold” on the employment variables or have small improvements in the innovative aspects of the productive network – from the presence of innovative companies and those operating in research sectors, to the participation of young adults in entrepreneurial initiatives, to the participation of women, to the inclusion of immigrants in the job world. Precisely in the economic characteristics, the chief towns demonstrate a high level of smartness, with Pisa and Florence occupying the second and third places, and with other cities like Siena, Arezzo, Lucca and Prato placing in the top twenty.

Florence is in Italy’s top ten also when it comes to governance (in which Turin places first) and mobility (spearheaded by Milan). The first category evaluates results that were reached in terms of eco-management, energy polity, the adoption of structural plans for the territory and of development programs for the production hubs, and, finally, the progress made towards digital administration. The mobility index considers the offer of public transportation, the use of low-pollution cars, the presence of parking lots, limited traffic zones, and bicycle lanes. Siena excels in the living category, wherein Pisa also holds a distinguished fourth rank. The ICityRate measures the quality of life index by considering the cultural offer and investment in culture, the health and social assistance services, the level of criminality as well as the level connectivity [access to internet]. The environmental index and social capital (instruction, number of associations, equal opportunities, sport) index see Trento and Ravenna in the first places, respectively. “It is interesting to note the positive evolutions within the governance and social capital categories – the analysis continues – the governmental agencies becomemore transparent and “social”, in order to better intercept the needs of the citizens: a maturations that has had a slow start but that now seems to have reached the point of changing the administrative culture.” In thse sectors, the ICityRate finds the largest female presence in the local government office and the vivaciousness of the social activism and policies. “Predictably – the analysis concludes – the steps made forward in the field of mobility and the environment are slower: the major progresses seem to pertain, for some territories, the improvement of air quality and the attention paid to the needs of those who travel by bicycle.”