VIDEO - Tel Aviv has been ranked the world's second "most innovative city" as part of the Wall Street Journal magazine and Citibank's City of the Year contest,
organized by the non-profit Urban Land Institute.
The Israeli metropolis was among the three cities which made it to the final out of 200. The winner was Medellin in Colombia. New York City came in third. The results were determined by online voters and Urban Land Institute judges.
Tel Aviv's achievements in the fields of technology, high-tech and research were mentioned as the reasons for its inclusion in the competition.
According to Leslie Braunstein in Urban Land's website, Israel’s seaside metropolis "has emerged as a global hub of technological innovation. Home to thousands of homegrown startups as well as outposts of American giants such as Google
and Microsoft, Tel Aviv’s technology corridor, dubbed the 'Silicon Wadi' (employing the Arabic word for valley), is ranked just behind California’s Silicon Valley in worldwide importance.
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Dozens of skyscrapers are being built in Tel Aviv, with the highest – 80-stories high – planned on the corner of Shaul Hamelech and Begin streets.
The municipality is currently working on a unique strategic move, which will allow residents to choose their favored means of communication and receive municipal services in digital form. The project includes a free citywide Wi-Fi scheme,
a mobile application, a geographic information system (GIS) on new infrastructure, an app development competition, online licensing, social networks, and more.
With more than 700 startup companies and research and development centers, Tel Aviv is considered Israel's "startup city." The Tel Aviv Municipality recently launched a strategic program to position the metropolis as an international center of innovation and creativity.
"We are working to create a startup visa for foreign entrepreneurs, increasing the number of international students in the metropolis, opening work spaces for technological entrepreneurs, and more," says Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir.
In transportation, the Tel-o-Fun bike share project is underway and the city will be the first in the world to host a pilot of the SkyTran podcar system, developed by NASA. An electric car rental system is also being considered.
The latest achievement joins a series of titles won by the city recently: The Capital of Mediterranean Cool (by the New York Times), one of the world's top 50 global cities (Foreign Policy), one of the world's fastest-growing cities (Forbes), one of the world's best beach cities (National Geographic), and one of the world's 10 best cities for architecture lovers
Tel Aviv was also ranked fifth in Mastercard's list of the 10 most toured cities in the Middle East and Africa. It was also voted the Best Gay City of 2011
in an international American Airlines competition.