Seriously, who'd rather live in Tokyo than here? (photo by Robert Hensley)

Dallas Is the 13th-Smartest (Read: Best) City in the World

So says a business school in Spain. You maybe have a different opinion.

The IESE Business School in Spain has released its annual ranking of the world’s “smartest cities.” The Cities in Motion Index is the result of researchers studying 135 cities based on 50 indicators along 10 dimensions: governance, public management, urban planning, technology, environment, international outreach, social cohesion, mobility and transportation, human capital, and economy. The categories are explained in more detail here.

For the fourth straight year, Dallas is No. 13. We trail only New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia among American cities. Tokyo was the big winner, also for the fourth straight year. And “smartest” is really just the researchers’ way of shying away from what they really mean. They don’t want to seem like they’re attempting to make a definitive judgment on the comparative quality of each of these places, but they are. They mean these as the “best” cities on Earth.

IESE has a nifty interactive map where you can dive in to see how each city ranks in each of the dimensions and compare how the cities charted. Here’s Dallas:

Dallas category ranks

And here’s what that looks like in spider-web form:

Dallas Cities in Motion categorized by web

Our great showing on the list seems to have a lot to do with our near-top ranking for Economy and Human Capital (ability to attract and retain talent.) We also do quite well in Governance (mostly means citizen engagement), though we’re much lower on the list for Public Management (the means by which the city is administered).

Dallas is also the youngest (most recently founded) city in the top 20. Which means we’ve got the energy to eventually run down and overtake the older cities ahead of us. We’re coming for you, Philadelphia.