We all know our world is increasingly urbanized, but what makes a city smart? A sense of place, for starters, says Ian MacFarlane, consultant for National Geographic Channel’s Smart Cities program. “A city needs a heart and soul—typically the center, where people congregate for work and leisure. Smart cities are well-connected locally and internationally, have a sustainable lifestyle, and are places where people come first,” he says. Here’s our essential list of things we love in the world’s most exciting cities.