Home EnvironmentalCities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
EnvironmentalBy Joe Burgett -

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Margarita Alshina/Associated Press]

Hurt – Moscow, Russia

  • Timeline: Present-Day

Russia has been involved in a lot of technological innovation for years. In fact, even as recently as the last decade, NASA worked with the Russian Space Program to send astronauts into space. Of course, Russia has been home to a lot of scientific research and development which did sadly include nuclear weaponry. Of course, they have been trying to also take advantage of their very rich renewable resources too. Russia currently uses wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and solar energy and produces products that utilize them. Yet this oil-rich nation sees most of its money provided by rich oligarchs.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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These oligarchs own a lot of the industrial sectors, which are left alone by the government. Moscow is currently in a bad way environmentally as a result. Industrial corporations account for 60% of the nation’s air pollution, 25% of its water pollution, and over 90% of its solid waste. Moscow numbers are even higher than that, making the capital a hard place to live for today’s Russians. This has been an issue for a while, as at least 40% of Russia saw ecological destress dating back to 30 years ago. Deforestation, irresponsible use of energy, nuclear waste, and major pollution have led to Russia warming 2.5 times faster than every other country.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Patrick Foto/Shutterstock.com]

Helped – Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

  • Timeline: Present-Day

Like Taiwan, Hong Kong managed to become a massive success away from Chinese rule or influence. Currently, the 5G penetration rate in the city-state makes it one of the most digitally advanced places in the world. Plus, their start-ups have grown massively over the years. In 2020 alone, they saw a 6% growth to 3,360 companies that employed over 10,000 people. These newer companies as well as many established ones are part of the biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city, and financial technology sectors. This works, as they are the main areas Hong Kong wants to continue to innovate and add to its tech industry overall.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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Hong Kong has been one of the healthiest areas to live and start a business. They have free universal healthcare and the highest life expectancy rate of any nation listed here or elsewhere. They even have a school where they are trying to educate the tech specialists of tomorrow, known as HKUST. It is considered one of the best tech universities in the world too. Hong Kong still has a relatively inexpensive rate when working with large corporations yet they do not sacrifice their environment to work with anyone. They do not really have to, as they are just shy of having a $400 billion GDP without any connection to oil or oil production as of 2021.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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Hurt – Dhaka Division, Bangladesh

  • Timeline: Present-Day

What seems to have become a major problem for Bangladesh is that they have tried to do too much with too little. They want to grow their economy and have thrown everything at the wall to make that happen. This includes making deals with numerous big technology corporations as well as those in the clothing, pharmaceutical, and oil industries. This has led to the country becoming a production house, where they make everything from textiles, electronics, vehicles, and bikes to plastic, glass, paper, and more. Plus, they obviously work a lot with petroleum whether that is converting it as a source of energy or for other various base products.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Insight-Photography/Shutterstock.com]
They also have steel and iron plants that make a wide variety of things. The Dhaka Division is the most populated territory in Bangladesh, as it is where a lot of the main jobs are located. The air pollution here is the worst in the world, which is crazy when you think about how small it is compared to others. It is so bad that life expectancy has been reduced by nearly 7 years. As many as 24,000 premature deaths in Dhaka are a result of this pollution from 2005 to 2018. The source of the pollution is not only vehicle emissions, but also unregulated fumes from factories and brick kilns, and even dust accumulations.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Arndale/Shutterstock.com]

Helped – Copenhagen, Kingdom of Denmark

  • Timeline: Present-Day

Today the Kingdom of Denmark is known as one of the greatest cities in the world to live in. It has one of the highest life expectancies on the planet and citizen happiness is so high that they have been ranked the happiest nation on Earth for years. While the nation is known for its many socialistic policies, they are actually a capitalist nation. They simply care enough about their people to ensure corporations come second, and the people/workers come first. Denmark is very technologically advanced as well and they’ve taken tech innovation seriously for a long time.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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In fact, they named a Tech Ambassador years ago strictly to bring big technology companies to Denmark. They ranked 10th in the Global Innovation Index in 2019 but jumped to 9th in 2021. The European Union’s Digital Economy and Society Index first ranked them number one in 2017, but they remained in that spot every year since then. Copenhagen is where a ton of major tech innovation talked place in Europe. In fact, Copenhagen is considered the most important tech city in Europe only behind Amsterdam and London. However, the city actually topped the inaugural Digital Cities Index that came out in 2022.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Ubisoft]

Hurt – London, England

  • Timeline: Industrial Revolution (mid-1700s to late-1800s)

The Industrial Revolution was a big time for both the Americans and British. It was a time of great invention and change. We went from having to make or do everything by hand to using machines to help us. Not only did they help us produce things more efficiently, but they also improved the rate of products that could be made at one time. Chemical manufacturing and iron production along with the use of steam and water power were utilized. This was also utilized in conjunction with machine tools and the rise of the modern factory system overall. Textiles were the big area of interest, but we’d eventually see things like automobile production and much more.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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Places like Britain saw possibly their biggest growth as far as GDP and trade are concerned. Britain was able to improve so much that it became the world’s leading commercial nation. In fact, most of the technological and agricultural innovations were British in origin and this all started mostly in London. However, the environment and increase in population just ravaged the city. Lack of proper sanitation led to a breakout in diseases, and corporations created often horrific breathing conditions that continued for years. An example of this came in 1952 known as the “Great Smog of London” which made them rethink environmental protections.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Yegorovnick/Shutterstock.com]

Helped – Oslo, Kingdom of Norway

  • Timeline: Present-Day

The Kingdom of Norway is an amazing place to live, with an education system that is one of the best on the planet. Along with that, they have a unique, impressive criminal justice system. Norway has quickly become one of the most technologically innovative nations. In fact, they were named the most advanced nation in digital media in 2013 which they have only improved on since. The country is also known for its impressive wind turbine technology, which the Norweigan Firm Sway developed to make offshore wind turbines affordable. Their city of Oslo has been leading most of their innovations too.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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What is so interesting about Norway is that they have made most of their money due to oil production. Yet they are one of the greenest countries in Europe and have the lowest rate of premature deaths due to pollution in the world. Norway accomplished its green initiatives using a tax and refund concept that collects and safely destroys HFCs. It’s also illegal to dispose of organic waste in landfills too, reducing methane and diesel emission rates. Plus, a shocking 98% of their electrical power comes from renewable resources, which is the best on the planet as of this writing! They utilize hydro, wind, and thermal power sectors to power their nation.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Amit kg/Shutterstock.com]

Hurt – Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, India 

  • Timeline: Present-Day

Honestly, if we chose just one city in India hurt by big technology, we’d avoid the horrible issues it has done to India overall. The three biggest cities that have been hurt by it are also the most populated: Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. It would be wrong to not first reference that they have become a notable tech location. They have been part of some important scientific research, especially in health sciences. India has also gotten into the aerospace industry in recent years, which is growing quite well. Of course, most of us know by now that India also has a terrific information technology sector too.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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Yet the pollution in India is almost stunning to people that visit it for the first time. India is the world’s most polluted large nation, which most people might know by now. Yet did you know that 44% of the global pollution on Earth has come from India since 2013? The spike in air pollution since then has been horrible, and it is partly due to their use of fossil fuels but their rapid expansion in industrialization has been the main cause. Most of its pollution comes from the cities referenced above, yet for some reason, they refuse to do anything about it. In fact, it has become so horrible that life expectancy has dropped at least 10 years for Delhi alone!

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via F11photo/Shutterstock.com]

Helped – Tokyo, Japan

  • Timeline: Present-Day

It’s certainly not going to be news to anyone reading this to find out that Japan is a very advanced nation. They are one of the few Asian nations that have made a massive impact on the entire planet using their technology, and they have been innovative in doing so. In fact, they topped the 2021 Global Innovation Index and will likely rank highly in the 2022 report as well. They have been part of some major advancements in the world of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, aerospace, and obviously video games too.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Tokyo Visionary Room/Shutterstock.com]
They are also the home of major companies like Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Sony, Panasonic, Suzuki, Toshiba, Canon, BNE Entertainment, and of course Nintendo. It should also come as no shock that Tokyo has been the main city where a lot of its technological innovations have taken place. In fact, it is world famous due to its impressive technology. Toyko was also given the top spot on the Innovation Cities Index in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021 which just goes to show how the city is still improving in spite of being a major tech hub already. Big technology companies are present here for a reason, clearly.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Orissa Post]

Hurt – Moscow, Soviet Union

  • Timeline: 1920s to 1980s

The Soviet Union was a relatively powerful collection of nations, dominated by Russian influence. The member states of the USSR include Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Of course, many joined to keep up with the rest of Europe and Asia while others were forced in. However, let’s not ignore the facts of the matter. The Soviet Union was hoping to become a major power in terms of technology, agriculture, and medical knowledge. They did accomplish this mostly. Yet they also wanted to be feared as a major threat to the world.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Serkant Hekimci/Shutterstock.com]
After World War II, they were economically anemic and needed to modernize to keep up. They did manage to do this and even became a huge part of the aerospace community. Yet they did not consider how their rapid industrial expansion would hurt them, and Moscow more than most felt that harm. Total emissions in the USSR by 1988 were around 79% of the US total, yet the Soviet gross national product was only 54% of the U.S. at this time. Meaning they created 1.5 times more pollution per unit of GNP. Air and water pollution along with deforestation and desertification from nuclear meltdowns just wrecked the overall Soviet Union territory.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Canadastock/Shutterstock.com]

Helped – Zurich, Switzerland

  • Timeline: Present-Day

Switzerland is known for being a relatively tech-friendly nation. After all, this is the home of some notable companies like Victorinox, which was started back in 1884 and likely made “Swiss Army Knives” a household name. We also cannot forget major Swiss watch brands like Tissot which opened in 1853 and the luxury watch brand Rolex, which opened in 1905. While the Nestle company is also based here, the major pharmaceutical brand Novartis can also be found here too. They make notable medications like Excedrin and Theraflu today. The ABB Group is relatively popular too, known for its automotive and engineering work.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock.com]
That said, the Swiss have been massive tech buffs for hundreds of years now so it should come as no surprise that one of their cities made this list. Zurich is an incredible city and home to several major start-ups and inventors. In fact, Switzerland has the highest ratio of European patent applications per capita. Plus, the Swiss love their environment and like to treat it properly. This led to several major green initiatives, allowing Zurich to become the least polluted city on the face of the planet. This is likely thanks in no small part to their Pollution Liability Insurance, which helps companies keep track of any pollutants.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
[Image via Axz700/Shutterstock.com]

Hurt – Beijing, China

  • Timeline: Present-Day

While Ancient China benefitted heavily from its technological expansion and innovation, today the nation has been hurt horribly by it. Their environment has taken a massive hit for a while. China was a superpower and slowly began losing that power it once held, so the nation chose to improve economically. This led to a push to industrialize and increase trade. Several major companies then began putting factories and other industrial work in China due to lower costs. That slowly built their economy and even allowed them to advance their technology.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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Today, they are a huge part of the artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, financial tech, biotechnology, and aerospace fields along with weapons enabled by autonomy. Not to mention their movement into weapons and nuclear technology overall. Yet their environment is garbage all over, especially in Beijing. The nation refuses to cut down on waste as they use things like coal to power most of its cities today. Beijing is hit hard by this due to its surrounding mountains. They form a natural barrier on all sides, allowing pollution to collect quickly and not disperse easily from wind and other processes. The pollution gets even worse in the Winter.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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Helped – Silicon Valley, United States of America

  • Timeline: Present-Day

Technically speaking, Silicon Valley is not a city in the United States. Rather, it is an area where a lot of major technology companies reside. Most refer to the territory as the Bay Area but Silicon Valley itself involves a little over 15 cities. This includes Belmont, Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale. On top of this, many consider San Francisco to be part of the valley system too. All of these cities each play a major role in the region itself.

Cities That Big Technology Has Created and Cities It Has Completely Destroyed
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What makes this place so notable today? The companies that reside here, for sure. The following companies either started in Silicon Valley or have their main corporate office here: Apple, Alphabet (Google, YouTube, Android), Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), Hewlett Packard (HP), Oracle, Intel, Cisco Systems, Broadcom, Adobe, eBay, Visa, Wells Fargo, Chevron, Alien Technology, Netflix, Cerebras, Nvidia, PayPal, Western Digital, and the Aha! Company. These places employ millions of people in total and have become massive in not just America but in the entire world today. Big technology companies literally put this territory on the map.

 

Where Do We Find this Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

United Nations

European Union

European Commission

Harvard University

Consumer Technology Association

Global Competitiveness Report

Global Innovation Index

Innovation Cities Program Index

World Economic Forum

International Trade Administration

IQAir

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