Mikael Eriksson Björling

About digital transformation, design, creativity and lifestyle in the Networked Society.



From Stockholm to Sydney – exploring the City Index

I recently made a trip from Stockholm to Sydney. Sydney is really an iconic city, so beautiful and full of nice people! My hometown Stockholm and Sydney are located 15584 kilometers away from each other – roughly a 24 hour flight – and both cities are measured in the Ericsson City Index 2016. The City Index consists of a report and an interactive tool to compare and explore cities. So let’s have a look at how two of the world’s most beautiful cities do index-wise.

At first look, Stockholm is ranked number 1 and Sydney ranked in the middle of the index at place 20. How come? What are the major differences?

First of all, let me explain shortly how we have built the index. What we measure is Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) maturity and Triple Bottom Line (TBL) development in the city. ICT maturity and TBL development are both divided into three dimensions. The TBL dimensions – social, economic, and environmental – reflect the three dimensions of sustainable development. ICT maturity is broken down into ICT infrastructure, ICT affordability, and ICT usage.  These three dimensions capture the complexity of the connected society: a well-developed infrastructure, a competitive market that offers affordable prices to citizens and businesses, and sufficient know-how to invent, adopt, and adapt new ICT solutions.


As number 20 in the Networked Society City Index, Sydney is somewhat below what would be expected considering the size of its economy. Overall, Sydney performs better in the ICT maturity dimensions than in the TBL dimensions. The city has the second-best mobile broadband quality of all the index cities, but fixed broadband is lacking in quality compared with other similar cities. On the TBL side, Sydney performs best in the economic dimension. It has a competitive economy with a large number of business start-ups per capita.

Stockholm’s top ranking comes down to performing exceptionally well in all dimensions of both ICT maturity and in the TBL part of the index. Stockholm also scores well when it comes to ICT affordability and ICT infrastructure. This is reflected in the city’s ICT usage, which is among the highest in the index. Stockholm is also ranked first in the economic and environmental dimensions of the TBL.

You can explore these cities and 38 more and a number of parameters in our interactive tool.

Explore the Index at:

Can Motor City become Bike City? The reinvention of Detroit.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to visit Detroit. It is a fascinating city facing many challenges getting on its feet again, which makes it a really interesting place to visit if you want to study entrepreneurship and creativity. My reason for being there was to study the progress of a city trying to redefine its post-industrial self.

What I found in Detroit were super friendly people and a forward-looking spirit. If you don’t know much about the city, Detroit was the epicenter of the 20th century automobile manufacturing industry, with the “Big Three” (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) are still present in the city where Ford Motor Company more or less invented the assembly line principles that served as a cornerstone of the postwar mass consumption society. (It’s also notable that Detroit Electric produced a fully electrical car here between 1907 and 1939.)

The city’s population peaked in 1950 with 2 million inhabitants, and as car manufacturing became increasingly automatized and other work was offshored to other countries, the population declined year by year and is now around 700,000 citizens, with 75,000 dilapidated buildings and only 60 percent of the street lights in working condition. Last year the city declared bankruptcy and a couple of weeks ago while I was there, the city’s debts were restructured.

Many people have, of course, lost their homes, lost their jobs and suffered a lot over the past decades. But what is so interesting is that the destruction of the old Detroit has also fed a lot of creativity and new innovative businesses. Right now, for instance, there is a strong bike movement in the Motor City.

I met with Bike Detroit, a community-based non-profit organization focused on clearing and cleaning bike trails in Detroit and nearby suburban areas.  Slow Roll is another organization working to establish and develop a bicycle culture through group bicycle rides where several thousand people bike together slowly on new paths every Monday. Then you can also find craftsmanship companies like Shinola and Detroit Bikes that build craft bicycles in old factory facilities. It seem like the Motown is on its way to becoming Biketown.

What about the old motor industry? Read the rest of the port at the Networked Society blog.

Central sites or local hubs – reflections on future city offices

As mobile technologies continue to liberate us from specific locations and time restrictions, it becomes less important where, when and how work is done. This ultimately will change how people moving around in cities. Some will work from home,others will go to the office and still others may prefer to sit at a café. Telecommuting and distance working will increase but this does not mean that people will only work from their homes (although some will). We still need a social context to our day and this means that we will want to meet people and get stimulated.

Read the full post at the Networked Society blog >>>

Paris, a city embracing innovation

This week, the New Cities Summit takes place in Paris; a city that has experienced groundbreaking changes in city planning – think Georges-Eugène Haussmann. Haussman was famous for modernizing Paris during the mid-19th century. The reconstruction of Paris involved all aspects of urban planning, including the demolition of 27,000 of the city’s 66,000 buildings. This made space for new boulevards, avenues and parks, turning the city into a sustained organic unit, and a huge modern workplace with a large economic turnover.

Today, Paris continues to develop, evolving so that it can cope with the increasing demands imposed by its expanding population. Read the full post at the Ericsson Networked Society blog >>>

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