A new study has ranked Tokyo the world’s safest city, measuring risks that are not only physical but also digital. But a closer look at the numbers indicates that “safe” may not necessarily mean “best.”
The “Safe Cities Index 2015”, conducted by The Economist, determined scores based four factors: health security, quality of infrastructure, personal safety and—most surprising of all—digital security.
In a statement James Chambers, the report’s editor, said: “It is time to update our traditional understanding of a safe city. The risks today continue to multiply as everything is becoming connected and the online and offline environments converge. This tool is meant to assist city leaders to make an honest and comprehensive assessment of this complex urban environment.”
The Economist noted that the new digital security category helped several American cities, such as New York, score higher than some of the world’s other top metropolises like London, Madrid and Paris. However, the upper echelon was dominated by developed Asian cities—after Tokyo, Singapore took second, while the bronze prize was snagged by another Japanese city, Osaka. Other Asian cities, such as Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh, did not fare nearly as well, skidding in at the very bottom of the 50 locales that were ranked. However, this shouldn’t be a surprise— The Economist noted in its statement that the entire top half of the index was dominated by developed cities, while the lower 25 positions were mostly made up of developing municipalities.
Despite Japan’s strong showing on the safety index, CNN noted that its citizens may not be too pleased with their choice of location. That’s because Tokyo limped into 16th place as the best city to live in, according to a separate section of The Economist survey. The winners of that ranking were Toronto and Montreal, ranking first and second respectively, meaning Tokyo citizens may be safe, but are far less content than their Canuck counterparts.
Image: Dennis Bacsa/Flickr (Creative Commons)