Every two year, the Economist Intelligence Unit grants the title as the world’s safest city to a global city, based on how it lives up to a set of parameters as described in the Safe Cities Index.
After having been number 1 since 2016, Tokyo has now gone down the list and according to the newest ranking, Copenhagen is now the world’s safest city with a total of 82.4 points out of 100, and a close follow-up with Toronto scoring 82.2.
It’s worth noting that income can help fund safety-increasing investments. In turn, economic growth depends on an environment benefiting from every kind of security. As the rapport states, it’s a virtuous cycle between the two.
The Safe Cities Index consists of 76 sub-indicators grouped under the five main categories being digital, health, infrastructure, personal safety, and for the first time environmental security. These are measured across 60 global cities.
Within almost the last two years, Covid19 has had a big impact and led to dramatic changes in society and so the 2021 ranking has been under the influence of the pandemic. As one of the contributors, Fang Zhao, professor of innovation and strategy at Staffordshire Business School puts it: “Covid-19 has changed the whole concept of urban safety.” Among others, Digital security has been awarded higher priority in the ranking than before covid 19.
Here is an overview of the five categories and the elements that, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, make Copenhagen the safest city in the world:
This is a category that has given the Danish capital a boost. The city ranks high when it comes to the amount of climate adaptation and the efforts made to integrate greenery into the urban space. The result underlines the importance of green spaces in the city and how greenery can contribute to safer environments to stay and live in.
The degree of personal safety in a city is important so that each of us can feel safe when moving around the public space. Personal safety can be achieved with “More eyes on the street” – something which can ultimately result in less crime. More eyes on the street can be achieved by creating spaces that make people want to stay and spend time together outside. City life in itself can create more safety and cohesion across cultures. Copenhagen scores high with its design and quality of public spaces and the proportion of green areas. Elements that have had a significant role in the final result.
More and more cities have started the process of or expressed the ambition to become a ‘smart city’. The term describes a city that uses technology to improve the city’s functions and the populations’ access to it.
The rapport states how digital security at the city level is too often insufficient for current needs and insecurity will multiply as urban areas increasingly pursue smart city ambitions. In the ranking, only around a quarter of urban governments have public-private digital security partnerships. Cities need to rethink digital security and see it as an investment, rather than an unproductive cost.
In the light of COVID19, health is an obvious place to begin a discussion of urban security in 2021. During the pandemic, the quality of the public health care systems has become increasingly important. In this category, Copenhagen is in the top 3. The experience of the pandemic shows the need to rethink health systems and take a more holistic approach to health security. One of the ways this can be done is to think of the population as a whole, which will especially involve providing effective care for marginalised groups.
The future infrastructure is green and green mobility pays off. A better and more sustainable mobility results in better and safer infrastructure and can solve other urban safety problems, for instance, make a city more climate-proof.
In terms of infrastructure, Copenhagen ranks high. Public transportation gives easy access to the city without a car – and in a sustainable way – with a short distance to shopping, school, work, and hospitals.
At Milford our mission is to create liveable cities, where people thrive, are happy, and feel safe. The ranking by EIU underlines the importance of green spaces throughout the city because more greenery can result in safer cities. Green spaces and safety go hand in hand. At Milford, this is a very big part of our everyday work and focus.
Interested to know more? Read more about the ranking here.