Toronto, Canada’s most populous city and among the world’s most cosmopolitan and multicultural cities, is known for its grandeur and beauty. Along with that, the city has climbed up to the second position in the list of the safest cities in the world right now. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, takes first place. The two cities have displaced Tokyo and Singapore from the first and second positions respectively, the reason being environmental security. This was counted as a criterion during the ranking, the other four being health security, personal security, infrastructure security, and digital security. Aside from that, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to reconsider what actually makes a city safe.
The World Rankings
On the 23rd of August, 2021, the fourth chapter of the Safe Cities Index was published. According to the EIU, the rankings this time are just about reordering the cities and there hasn’t been a big surprise at all. The cities that have made it to the top 10 have always been there. According to the report, the top 10 cities this year are – 1. Copenhagen, 2. Toronto, 3. Singapore, 4. Sydney, 5. Tokyo, 6. Amsterdam, 7. Wellington, 8. Hong Kong, 8. Melbourne, 10. Stockholm. Hong Kong and Melbourne have been jointly ranked eighth.
Where Does Singapore Stand?
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly pointed out that a more holistic approach, in how the authorities running a city perceive the residents, is the need of the hour. All the large-scale outbreaks of coronavirus cases in Singapore were among the migrant workers and foreign nationals. Online scams were way too common during the pandemic and the authorities had a tough time coping up.
Singapore has always been known for its low crime rate. Though it dropped further by 16 percent, the inclusion of scams would increase the crime rate by at least six percent. In the case of personal security, what Singapore has been doing has come up with excellent results. The capacity of the judicial system and the low crime rates are worth applauding.
Why Are Copenhagen and Toronto at the Top?
Going through the study, both Copenhagen and Toronto were found to be stronger on the environmental security front as compared to the top three cities in the previous list which included Singapore. Toronto came second, Copenhagen was at the sixth position, Tokyo was placed 13th, and Singapore ranked 37th.
Speaking about Copenhagen, the city deserves all the appreciation for its attempt to bring down energy consumption. While encouraging green mobility, it has come out with flying colors due to its investment in green energy. Toronto has worked towards putting money into the partnerships between the private sector and the consumers. This step has been taken to promote completely environment-friendly practices.
Has The COVID-19 Pandemic Affected the Rankings?
As per the report published, COVID-19 has indeed played a role this time. As a matter of fact, the ongoing pandemic has altered the entire concept of what the world knows as urban safety. In the field of health security, a lot has been discussed about the adequate preparation of healthcare systems. The report has focused on the necessity of improving health emergency planning and integrating it into urban resilience steps. Owing to more online work and commercial transactions, digital security is a priority these days and can’t be denied at any cost.
Talking about infrastructure safety, travel patterns have undergone a sea of change. The way residents of a city have been consuming the utilities is also not the same anymore. So, adjustments need to be made accordingly. As far as personal security is concerned, the lockdowns had led to a change in the crime patterns and policymakers need to address this issue as soon as possible. COVID-19 is a crisis that has certainly put a question mark on environmental safety in many parts of the world.
Environmental security is measured based on what steps a city has taken in areas like sustainability, green economy, waste management, and renewable energy. The factors that are taken into consideration by the reviewers include how much sustainable energy has been produced, how much waste has been generated, and the overall air quality as well. It will be quite interesting to see whether Copenhagen and Toronto would be able to retain their spots in the next edition.