The 18 Most Innovative Cities On Earth

Cape Town, South AfricaREUTERS/Euroluftbild.deCape Town, South Africa.

Cities might be humanity’s greatest invention — if you listen to Harvard economist Ed Glaeser, author of “Triumph of the City.”

“So much of what humankind has achieved over the past three millennia has come out of the remarkable collaborative creations that come out of cities,” he said in an interview. “We are a social species. We come out of the womb with the ability to sop up information from people around us. It’s almost our defining characteristic as creatures. And cities play to that strength.”

Indeed, many modern metros are pushing the limits of industry, design, and urban planning, while rethinking the way people live and work.

With that in mind, we assembled a list of the 18 most innovative cities in the world, using a range of metrics from patents per capita to skyscraper height.

Amsterdam is the most bike-friendly city in the world, with a full 38% of all trips in the city made by bicycle.

London, England, has the most economic opportunity of any city in the world, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. One key is that London is a gateway to the world, with its six international airports.

Helsinki, Finland, makes the list for a super innovative transit system -- one that will soon have 'a real-time marketplace for customers to choose among transport providers and piece together the fastest or cheapest way of getting where they need to go.'

San Jose, California, might be the most forward-thinking city on the planet, with a staggering 5,066 patents per million residents.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is leading the way in becoming a 'smart city.' For instance, it lets residents use smartphones to alert the city to infrastructure issues.

Cape Town, South Africa, makes it easy to get off fossil fuels, like by making solar water heaters available to citizens.

Dubai, UAE, features strikingly innovative architecture, like the 160-story-tall Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on earth.

Tokyo, Japan, launched the world's first cap and trade system in 2010 and now has 1,100 participating facilities.

Seoul, South Korea, has made inroads in becoming one of the world's top 'smart' cities. For example, it's introducing GPS to the city's 25,000 taxi cabs -- providing real-time traffic information.

Now that you've seen the most innovative places to live, check out the most beautiful places to work.

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