By Tamara Hardingham-Gill | CNN
Safety has long been a major concern for travelers when deciding which destination to visit.
But in recent years the world has turned its head due to global epidemics and the concept of what exactly makes things “safe” has changed significantly.
It could help explain the shock at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index (SCI), a new division for digital security, health protection, infrastructure, personal safety, as well as environmental protection this year.
Although Asian cities such as Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka have topped the list year after year, it is a European destination that holds the number one spot for 2021.
Copenhagen has been named the safest city in the world for the first time, with 82.4 points out of 100 in the annual report.
The Danish capital rose to the top of the list from the joint eighth place in 2019, largely thanks to the introduction of an environmental safety department, which has made the city particularly good with personal safety.
Lars Weiss, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, said: “An important factor in making Copenhagen a safer city is its low crime rate, which is currently at its lowest level in more than a decade.”
“Copenhagen is characterized by great social cohesion and a relatively narrow wealth gap. It is a mixed city where both the cleaning assistant and the CEO meet at the local supermarket and their children attend the same school.
“This is one of the foundations of Danish culture, and it contributes greatly to the high level of confidence and security from which we benefit.”
Toronto, Canada is in second place with just 2.2 points, Singapore is in third place with 800..7 points.
Although Sydney was fourth with .10.1 points, the Australian city was at the top in the digital security category, and the 2019 winner Tokyo was awarded .0.0.0 points, which placed the Japanese city in fifth place.
Effect of Covid-1 impact
“Copenhagen is certainly a worthy overall leader and Toronto a worthy runner-up, but there have been no significant improvements in the last two years due to its long-term success in securing residents,” the report reads.
“Toronto and Copenhagen have done significantly better than any of the top three cities in the previous year in new environmental safety pillars.”
Amsterdam in the Netherlands was in sixth place with .3..3 points, while Wellington in New Zealand came in at number seven with .0.0 points and led overall in the environmental protection category.
Asia-Pacific cities Hong Kong and Melbourne are joint eighth with 78.6 points, while Stockholm, Sweden, is in the top ten with .0.0 points.
New York was the highest U.S. city on the list, sharing 11th place with Barcelona in Spain (both cities got 77.8 points).
Washington DC was 1st place behind, while London and San Francisco were 15th.
At the other end of the list were some surprises, with Lagos in Nigeria, Cairo in Egypt, Caracas in Venezuela, Karachi in Pakistan and Yangon in Myanmar in the bottom five.
But in recent years cities with the lowest scores have found themselves at the bottom of all categories, but that’s not the case here.
Indeed, the report noted that “there are some signs of a shift mirroring among leaders,” Lagos “is slightly higher than average in environmental protection, and Casablanca is ranked 41st, 55th in digital security.
Surprisingly, Covid-1 is always mentioned, especially in health care evaluations, which have scored much lower than other categories in Copenhagen.
According to Nima Asgari, director of the Asia-Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policy, the issue of urban resilience has previously focused on disasters and floods rather than health crises, “probably because people never thought it would disrupt health systems.”
The report says that some destinations may be less prepared because of this missing link and may ultimately be less successful in limiting the effects of the coronavirus.
Michel Akuto, a professor of global urban politics at the University of Melbourne, added, “Covid-1 te teaches that there is always a blind spot, even when there is a lot of activity.”
The report emphasizes that the understanding of health protection “needs to be reconsidered” as a direct result of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Naka Kondo, senior editor at The EIU and editor of the report, notes that digital security has now become a bigger priority that “more work and commerce has moved online” and needs to be coordinated in light of this.
“People responsible for infrastructural security need to adapt to dramatic changes in the type of travel and where residents use utilities; Organizations responsible for personal safety need to address a major, lockdown-driven change in the type of crime, ”Condo said.
The report further acknowledges that the epidemic “has brought a potential turning point across every pillar of urban security”, giving cities the opportunity to “reconsider the long-term dangers on the way to achieving safe, sustainable, livable cities, as well as the opportunity to go there.”
“A new, more comprehensive understanding of urban security offers hope for cities that are not only safer in every sense, but also more sustainable and enjoyable places to live,” it adds.
Six cities, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Tokyo, Toronto, Singapore and Sydney, all ranked in the top ten, with regular fixtures every year since the report was launched in 2015, Copenhagen 201.
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