Among the smartest of them all

Grateful graduate project: reasons 208-212

Paris and London are interesting places to observe as ‘smart cities’, I appreciate:

1. The convenience of moving about easily, not needing a car, being mobile, thanks to great public transport systems in both places;

2. The accessibility of the city, in financial terms, to students…although London offers a much more extensive student pricing for graduate student Oyster cards;

3. Velib bikes in Paris, and Barclays in London… The ease of using bikes to move about where necessary (although there are much more bike friendly cities on the Continent);

4. The accessibility of public spaces and the ease of finding urban space tailored to socialize and mix… Not all cities function in this way. The worst city I have lived in is subdivided into inaccessible conclaves, gated communities, separate spaces enforced by security companies;

5. The relative ease of connecting to international travel from London and Paris.

While the methodology of global rankings should always incite suspicion, I am not surprised that Paris and London feature in the top five of the Top 10 smartest cities in the world, partly due to their measures to make themselves environmentally friendly. As a student in either city, the ‘smartness’ of these cities enhances the experience of living and studying within them.

This is part of a project to collect 365 reasons to be grateful for the experience of being a graduate student in Paris and London over the course of 2013.