As far as companies are concerned, their contribution to the sustainability of the urban environment becomes crucial: living in a more people-friendly city can be an important part of human capital management. The demand for people-friendly cities is emerging very strongly, and companies are also bound to understand and manage the impact of new urban trends on their employees: smart working, a new vision of work and values, is the most obvious part of this, but the increased attention to the environment, the desire for more sustainable travel, and a better work-life balance are irreversible trends.
The analysis shows that industries such as Technology & Telco, Automotive Manufacturing, Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals and Media & Entertainment, which are mostly concentrated in Milan, Turin, Rome, Bologna and Emilia, are more attentive to 'human' aspects and offer workers more people-friendly urban and living contexts, as opposed to industries - such as Agrifood and Retail Food - which suffer from a certain concentration in the more rural areas of the country.
In this year's ranking, Milan is confirmed in first place, with digital transition as its greatest strength both in infrastructure (ultra-broadband, 5G and IoT) and in citizens' skills and use of online services. It is followed by Bologna, thanks to its supremacy in terms of social inclusion, and Turin, especially for its decisive step in ecological transition. Rome is twelfth and gives up five positions compared to the 2020 ranking. What penalises it is, above all, a marked delay in the ecological transition process. Among the 40 cities in the South, only three metropolitan cities are in the first tier: Cagliari, Naples and Bari. Conversely, in the North, of the 47 cities, 29 are in the first tier of the ranking and only 6 in the third tier. In the Centre, however, the situation appears more balanced: 5 cities are in the first tier, 12 in the second and 5 in the third.
The size of cities has always been a determining variable in smart city implementation and this year, too, metropolitan cities prevail over medium and small centres.
Cities with high readiness scores and low behaviour scores invest and develop initiatives but struggle to involve citizens and have so far achieved a response that is far less than their efforts. These are southern metropolises that have invested a lot thanks to structural funds but have not yet produced tangible results.