Monterrey, one of the “Smartest Cities” in the world!

By Daniel Juárez

This city may not necessarily be the biggest or the most visited touristic destination, but it has been considered the “smartest” by Forbes and I’ll explain why.

What is a “smart city” anyway? Some of us may understand it at first as a green-flag-waving metropolis who cares about the environment; playing its part just as an eco-friendly federal entity. But actually, the definition is broadened by Forbes itself, determining that not only we should focus on a nature-loving approach to preserve the earth, but also on economic fundamentals that look past our infrastructure and livability standards.

Campestre de MonterreyOriginal image: “Campestre de Monterrey” by Rick González, used under CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia commons.

Which city crosses through your mind right now? Moscow? London? Mexico City perhaps? Well, much to your dismay, these, along with many other cities, don’t fall into this category. The income disparity between social classes and increasingly high real-estate prices are two of the main factors which automatically write them out of the “smart” label.

So in definition, a smaller city tends to be a more efficient one, for example, Singapore; a trade giant which has lured around 6000 multinational foreign companies into its city, making it one of the biggest hot spots for negotiations and business meetings, or like Amsterdam; with its low corporate taxes and income taxes on foreign workers is now home of seven of the top 500 companies in the world. Its well-educated, multilingual population and a lack of political corruption also add to their smart rating.

monterrey nuevo leonOriginal Image: "Ciudad de Monterrey" by Lucy Nieto, used underCC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license, via Flickr.

Where does Monterrey fall on the definition? The long standing business-friendly Mexican city has risen up from relative obscurity to prove its industrial power over the rest of Mexico, with over 57 industrial parks specializing in everything from chemicals and cement to telecommunications and industrial machinery.

Powerful families have been long running this city with keen business prowess, so it keeps everything very friendly for entrepreneurs. It helps too that it holds up to 82 institutions of higher learning and 125,000 students overall, their leading one is Tecnológico de Monterrey, which easily rivals other learning giants like MIT in the U.S. or Cal Tech.

valle oriente monterreyOriginal Image:“Valle Oriente” by Divan90, used under the license CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Another very important contributing factor is the city’s growing rate; it’s a lot faster than the rest of Mexico. In fact, Monterrey and its surrounding state, Nuevo León, now boast per-capita GDP approximately twice in comparison from other states.

An incredible leap for their 3.5 million inhabitants, and certainly, an ego-boost for the rest of us too. So now that brings the following question, what city would you like to see next featured on an article? Would you consider your city to be “smart”? Let us know in the comments.

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