- Tokyo edges Singapore (2nd) and Osaka (3rd) again to take the top spot in 2019.
- Alongside Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka, Sydney (5th), Seoul (tied 8th) and Melbourne (10th) make up the six APAC cities in the top 10.
- The remaining top ten cities are: Amsterdam (4th), Toronto (6th), Washington, DC (7th) and Copenhagen (tied 8th).
- The 2019 edition of the index includes ten new indicators, of which eight are related to environmental resilience.
The Economist Intelligence Unit today releases the third edition of the Safe Cities Index (SCI) at the Safe Cities Summit in Singapore. The index, which is the centre piece of a research project sponsored by NEC Corporation, ranks 60 cities worldwide across five continents. It measures the multifaceted nature of urban safety, with indicators organised across four pillars: digital, infrastructure, health and personal security.
Cities in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region make up six of the top ten safest cities with Tokyo taking the top spot for the third time in a row. The Japanese capital records the strongest performance in the digital security category, and it has also risen eight places in the infrastructure security category since 2017.
Along with Tokyo, other APAC cities, as in the past, dominate the SCI2019. Singapore and Osaka come second and third, while Sydney and Melbourne also make the top ten. Although Hong Kong has dropped out of this group since 2017, Seoul has joined the top taking eighth place with Copenhagen.
Naka Kondo, senior editor of The Economist Intelligence Unit, and editor of the SCI2019 report, says:
“Our research shows that a city’s region does not have any statistically significant relationship with SCI2019 performance. Although APAC cities such as Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka continue to rank within the top three cities in the Index, the region also hosts some of the lowest scoring cities in the world, with Yangon, Karachi and Dhaka close to the bottom of the list. APAC cities perform well across the categories of health security, infrastructure security and personal security, but their North American counterparts generally fare better in digital security, accounting for seven of the top ten cities in this category.”
The SCI2019 benefits from a major revision designed to better capture “urban resilience”—the ability of cities to absorb and bounce back from shocks—a concept that has had an increasing influence on thinking in urban safety over the last decade, especially as policymakers worry about the implications of climate change. The 2019 edition is the third, following the 2015 and 2017 editions. The SCI2019 scores are not evenly spread, with a large number of cities clustered at the top, and the rest showing wider variation in scores. Just ten points separate the overall scores of the top 24 cities, while the following 36 are 40 points apart.
Research shows that the performance of different safety pillars correlates very closely with each other, signifying that different kinds of safety are thoroughly intertwined. The top performers in each pillar are as follows:
Digital security: Tokyo (1), Singapore (2), Chicago (3), Washington, DC, (4), Los Angeles/San Francisco (5)
Health security: Osaka (1), Tokyo (2), Seoul (3), Amsterdam (4), Stockholm (5)
Infrastructure security: Singapore (1), Osaka (2), Barcelona (3), Tokyo (4), Madrid (5)
Personal security: Singapore (1), Copenhagen (2), Hong Kong (3), Tokyo (4), Wellington (5)
The leading cities got the basics right, including easy access to high-quality healthcare, dedicated cyber-security teams, community-based police patrolling and/or disaster continuity planning. The accompanying SCI2019 report explores the index results, incorporating 14 in-depth interviews with industry experts around urban safety.
“Overall, while wealth is among the most important determinants of safety, the levels of transparency—and governance—correlate as closely as income with index scores. Our research shows the many ways that transparency and accountability are essential in every pillar of urban security, from building safer bridges to developing the trust needed for relevant stakeholders to share information on cyber-attacks. The research also highlights how different types of safety are thoroughly intertwined—that it is rare to find a city with very good results in one safety pillar and lagging in others. Policies, service planning and provision should also take this into account—and this year, we have decided to convene stakeholders from around the world in a Safe Cities Summit to discuss such matters around urban safety,” says Ms Kondo.
About the Safe Cities Index (SCI) 2019
The SCI2019, similarly to the previous two editions, is centred around digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security. The 2019 index ranks 60 cities across 57 indicators. The 2019 framework has been refined to better capture a city’s climate change or disaster risk resilience/preparedness. For more on the index methodology, please see the methodology appendix at the end of the report. Please access this link (http://safecities.economist.com) for the white paper, infographic and the video.
Due to the change in city coverage and additional indicators, direct year-on-year comparisons between cities are not possible. Scores and rankings reflect the relative performance of a city and should be considered for the year in scope, especially due to changes in methodology/indicators and cities in scope in the 2019 edition.
The 60 cities covered in the index are (in order of the overall ranking):
North America: Toronto, Washington, DC, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas.
Latin America: Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Mexico City, Lima, Quito, Bogota and Caracas.
Europe: Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Moscow and Istanbul.
Middle East and Africa: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait City, Riyadh, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Baku, Cairo and Lagos.
Asia-Pacific: Tokyo, Singapore, Osaka, Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Taipei, Wellington, Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Mumbai, Bangkok, New Delhi, Jakarta, Dhaka, Karachi and Yangon.
About The Economist Intelligence Unit
The EIU is the thought leadership, research and analysis division of The Economist Group and the world leader in global business intelligence for executives. We uncover novel and forward-looking perspectives with access to over 650 expert analysts and editors across 200 countries worldwide. More information can be found on www.eiuperspectives.economist.com. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About NEC Corporation NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. The NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. Under the company’s corporate message of “Orchestrating a brighter world”, NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.