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Patents and skyscrapers...what makes these 18 cities the most innovative places on Earth

These cities are commended for thinking outside the box of industry, design and urban planning.

Cape Town, South Africa.
Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Press Association Images

WHAT CITIES ARE the best at pushing the limits of industry, design and urban planning, while rethinking the way people live and work? 

Business Insider has put together a list of the 18 most innovative cities in the world, using a range of metrics from patents per capita to skyscraper height.

Singapore has the best infrastructure in the world, including an airport complete with a butterfly garden, pool, movie theatres, hotels, spas, showers, and of course a four-storey slide.

singapore-has-the-best-infrastructure-in-the-world-including-an-airport-complete-with-a-butterfly-garden-pool-movie-theaters-hotels-spas-showers-and-of-course-a-four-story-slide Singapore Airport Source: Business Insider

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

Netherlands Autumn Bikes are parked on a bridge over Egelantiersgracht canal in the center of Amsterdam. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Bangalore, India, is known as the Silicon Valley of India, with a tech sector that brings in $17 billion in revenue a year. Venture capital has noticed, investing $300 million in venture funding in 2012.

Shutterstock-137913986 Bangalore City, India Source: Shutterstock

London 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.

City Views - London A view of The City of London. Source: Yui Mok

Helsinki 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.”

helsinki-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-o Helsinki Source: Business Insider

Hong Kong is easily the most vertically aggressive city in the world. Asia’s financial capital has 1,268 skyscrapers, more than twice that of any other city.

PA-15271997 Hong Kong Source: Press Association Images

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

Shutterstock-17744461 San Jose, California Source: Shutterstock

Vienna makes the list for consistently having the highest quality of life in the world, thanks to excellent public transit, renowned museums, more international congresses than any other city, and inventing filtered coffee. It also enjoy some of the finest urban planning, with substandard housing amounting to less than 9% of the city’s total.

PA-15234152 Source: John Dakers

Copenhagen boasts some of the most efficient nationalised healthcare on earth, with both maternity and paternity leave.

shutterstock_131744381 Copenhagen Source: Shutterstock

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

WCup Brazil Assaults Rio de Jeneiro, Brazil Source: AP/Press Association Images

Medellin, Colombia, was once one of the world’s most violent places, but the South American city is now a case study in urban revival. One example: Clever city planning, including the use of gondolas and escalators, has cut hours-long commute times to minutes.

APTOPIX Colombia Christmas Source: AP/Press Association Images

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

PA-15274690 Cape Town, South Africa. Source: Press Association Images

Vancouver, Canada, has set a mission to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, which has already led to a 20% decrease in water consumption. Plus, 41% of people walk or bike to get around.

PA-17579512 The Vancouver city skyline Source: JONATHAN HAYWARD

Santiago, Chile, has lower corruption rates than anywhere else in South America and is launching initiatives like Start-Up Chile, making it one of the most entrepreneur-friendly cities in the world.

PA-15234001 Santiago, Chile Source: Trevor Page

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

Mideast Emirates Dubai skyline Dubai Marina towers in Dubai UAE Source: Hassan Ammar

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

Light down campaign starts Tokyo Source: AP/Press Association Images

Munich, Germany, set an initiative to become totally energy sustainable by 2025 — and it’s 37% of the way there.

PA-15283012 Bavaria Munich Marianplatz, Munich. Source: Press Association Images

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.

South Korea Daily Life Seoul, South Korea Source: Kin Cheung

Frontierland: Early photos of major US cities>

Read: This 24-year-old student is going to free Helsinki from car ownership>

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