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Tokyo tops list of most innovate cities thanks to 3D technology, robotics

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Tokyo has topped a list of the world’s most innovative cities, leapfrogging London and New York after embracing the “globe-shaking trends of robotics and 3-D manufacturing.”

Tokyo has risen rapidly since entering the top 10 of the Innovation Cities Index three years ago behind Paris, and was one of three Asian cities to feature this year.

“What really surprised us this year was the resurgence of Tokyo, moving up to eclipse rival cities like Boston,” said Christopher Hire, director of commercial data provider 2thinknow, which published the annual ranking on Friday.

“They showed clear direction by embracing smart technology change to lead innovation and leadership in what we have identified as the twin long-term globe-shaking trends of robotics and 3-D manufacturing.”

Singapore, Sydney and Seoul also ranked highly in the index, which judges cities on 162 indicators including web censorship, wealth distribution and the potential for green businesses.

San Francisco and New York both made the top five, while smaller U.S. cities such as San Diego, Portland and Oakland featured prominently, demonstrating their attractiveness to tech companies priced out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We found on a population-adjusted basis many small cities are punching above their weight. It’s the year of big cities with physical networks and small cities with digital networks,” said Hire in a statement.