It is a tradition: every year, the Economist Intelligence Unit releases its Safe Cities index which ranks 60 cities by assessing digital, health, infrastructure and personal security indicators. The study is sponsored by NEC Corporation.
Humanity is increasingly urban, with over 56% of us living in cities. By 2050, 68% will live in urban areas, reflecting a speed of urbanisation even faster than previously predicted. Thus, urban management will play a fundamental role in defining the quality of life of most human beings in the coming years. A key element of this will be the ability of cities to provide security for their residents, businesses and visitors. Accordingly, The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by NEC Corporation, maintains the Safe Cites Index (SCI)—a detailed benchmarking tool that measures a wide range of security inputs and results.
The report is based on the third iteration of the index, which ranks 60 cities across 57 indicators covering digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security. Cities that generally do well have solid health care, dedicated cybersecurity teams and disaster continuity planning, among other factors.
But also, the EIU added a new theme in the 2019 version. The report accompanies the release of the concept of “urban resilience”. The latter is the ability of cities to absorb and bounce back from shocks—has had an increasing influence on thinking in urban safety over the last decade, especially as policymakers worry about the implications of climate change.
In 2019, Singapore was the only ASEAN city to be in the top 10. Like in 2018, Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka have once again been named the world’s safest cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Asia-Pacific cities make actually up six of the top ten.
The next safest city in Southeast Asia was Kuala Lumpur. However its performance is rather mediocre as it ranks only 35 over 60. It is surprisingly followed by Manila which ranks 43, ahead of Bangkok! Thailand capital’s is ASEAN fourth safest city ranking 47. But its score is now matched by Ho Chi Minh City- also ranked 47.
Not surprising is Jakarta, which regularly is considered by EIU Safe Cities Index as one of the least safe towns in Southeast Asia pn par with Yangon. Indonesia capital city ranked 53 in the report while Yangon ended up at 58, only doing marginally better than Caracas and Lagos!
One of the biggest drops in one year time is affecting Hong Kong, which dropped to 20th after ranking 11th in 2015 and ninth in 2017…