Cities around the world have had to rethink security in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. The following are the ones that are doing well.
Nothing in modern history has changed life in cities as much as the covid has.
From downtown office closures to masks being required to restaurant restrictions, pandemic precautions have transformed the landscape of cities around the world, probably in the long run.
In fact, the pandemic is the first on its scale that happens to us as a “urbanized” species. When the Spanish flu broke out in the early 1900s, only 14% of humans lived in cities, but today that number has risen to 57%, according to estimates by the UN Population Division.
As a result, cities have had to become even more vigilant in terms of protecting health and general safety to better care for their inhabitants.
To understand what changes have led to greater security, the magazine’s intelligence unit The Economist recently published the “Safe Cities Index 2021“, which classifies 60 cities according 76 indicators security in infrastructure, digital life, personal safety, environmental factors and, of course, health, which this year includes preparedness for pandemics and mortality from covid-19.
Those ranked at the top of the index, including Copenhague, Toronto, Singapur, Sídney y Tokio, have factors that illustrate how general security correlates with a strong sense of social cohesion, total inclusion of the population, and trust in society.
We talk to the residents from these cities to see how the changes brought about by the pandemic have made their cities safer, more inclusive and more resilient; and what things travelers need to know to stay safe when they can finally visit.
Ranked at the top of the index, Denmark’s capital was positioned particularly well due to the index’s new environmental safety pillar, which measures sustainability (including renewable energy incentives), air quality, waste management, and urban forest cover.
The latter had an absolute impact on how well the city and its residents were able to cope with the pandemic restrictions, which were completely removed as of September 2021.
“The parks, green areas and waterways they were extremely popular during the pandemic. The people of Copenhagen would walk around and buy take out food and enjoy the many breathing spaces in the city, “said resident Asbjørn Overgaard, CEO of the non-profit organization Copenhagen Capacity.
The city also continues to provide “coronavirus guides” to help people, and maintains extensive signage and clear markings to create space between groups outdoors.
The community spirit of the country, best summed up in the Danish word community spirit, it also enables the country’s citizens to work together and trust each other – including government officials – to create a safer living environment.
The Safe Cities Index found a high correlation between control of corruption and the safer citiesSo it is not surprising that Denmark’s ranking as one of the least corrupt countries in the world has allowed its citizens to trust its institutions and each other during the pandemic.
Copenhagen also implemented a massive testing program covid, which is still free for everyone, including tourists. The data collected allows detailed monitoring of outbreaks.
Additionally, the city will implement sewage testing to detect outbreaks early.
Canada’s largest city came in a close second on the overall safety index, with strong scores in infrastructure and environmental safety. Residents believe this is because there is a inclusive culture that values targeted communication across communities, especially when it comes to vaccine awareness and adoption.
Toronto resident Farida Talaat notes how the city initiated a series of community-specific vaccination programs to make the city safer.
For example, a plan was implemented to complete the first doses for residents who were unable to leave their homes; and the Black Scientists Working Group on Vaccine Equity was established early in vaccination campaigns to ensure a vaccine-based approach to vaccination. equity.
Residents also feel safe due to the long history of multiculturalism from the city.
“In Toronto, it is normal to be born outside of Canada. I discovered that different ethnic and cultural groups interact with each other and do not live in silos,” said Filipe Vernaza, who has lived in the city since 1998.
“A typical group of people probably has people of different ethnicities, sexual orientations and religions. Toronto is an extremely open-minded city where you can feel safe being who you are.”
Singapore, which ranks second in digital security, health security and infrastructure security, used those strengths to move quickly during the early days of the pandemic, rapidly implementing the digital monitoring and contact tracing.
The country also has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world (currently 80%), but still requires strict follow-up and contact tracing for new variants.
“Before they can enter buildings or facilities, all residents must scan their TraceTogether token or phone app to sign up for SafeEntry,” explains Singapore resident Sam Lee who runs a travel blog.
“This allows [autoridades] quickly track down people who might have interacted with those infected so that a quarantine order can be carried out to contain or break the chain of transmission of the virus. “
Travelers must also install the TraceTogether token or rent a phone with it installed before entering the country.
Work from home It has become a standard in most workplaces to reduce interactions, which Lee notes has led to less crowded public transportation.
Tourist attractions and shopping malls have limited entrances, and “safe distance ambassadors” monitor crowds to ensure the public is complying with health orders; people who do not comply face costly fines.
The public can also track crowds in shopping malls, post offices, and grocery stores with the tool. rrecently launched Space Out.
Australia’s largest city ranked fifth overall on the index and ranked in the top ten for health security.
Australia was one of the first countries to completely close its borders during the pandemic and has maintained strict blockades due to the increase in cases, with a positive effect. The per capita covid death rate in Australia remains one of the lowest in the world.
As vaccines hit 70% in New South Wales, many of those restrictions are expected to be lifted and international borders open in November.
In addition to feeling protected from the pandemic, residents have long had a strong sense of personal safety on the streets of Sydney.
“Really I have never felt so safe in a countryLike living in Sydney, “says Chloe Scorgie, founder of Australian travel website Passport Down Under, who first moved to Sydney in 2018.
“I traveled around Sydney alone and never felt like I was in danger.”
Sydney has led this effort in part with its Smart City strategic framework, which includes some of the recommended innovations for safer and more connected cities.
For example, the plan outlines how smart sensors could be placed on garbage cans, streetlights, and benches to collect information on general usage, transportation flow, and pedestrian activity.
Similarly, smart lighting and CCTV networks They could improve security after dark and the nighttime economy.
Some of these ideas are already being put into practice in the south of the city in the form of centers called ChillOUT: outdoor spaces where residents can meet under smart lighting, connect to WiFi and plug in electronic devices, where data on their use They are sent to city leaders, so they can better understand it and make changes based on the way their citizens interact with the city infrastructure.
Japan’s capital ranked fifth in the overall index and is at the top of the health security index, which measures factors such as universal health care, pandemic preparedness, life expectancy, mental health, and Covid-19 mortality.
Although the cases increased during the Olympics, lrates have been drastically reduced since vaccines have reached almost 60% of the population.
In light of the positive news, Japan announced the end of the federal state of emergency and the gradual lifting of restrictions from the end of September 2021.
Instead, the country plans to encourage the use of its vaccine passporttion for admission to medical centers and large events, and even encourage companies to offer discounts or coupons to holders of these passports.
Tokyo also ranked in the top five for the safety of its infrastructure, that includes transportation safety, ease for pedestrians and transportation networks.
As a walkable city connected by rail, Tokyo was built to encourage hikes and community participation, which, in turn, has led to a citizen participation stronger in security, in the form of neighborhood crime prevention and surveillance, and a shared sense of responsibility in crime prevention.
“From the various lost and found centers at train stations to the almost unnecessary bike locks, there is immense respect for the welfare of others“said Sena Chang, a Tokyo resident and founder of The Global Youth Review magazine.
She remembers a time she lost her shopping bag in the heart of the city, only to find it in the same place where she had left it, along with a kind note.
“A culture of collectivism Centuries old and great mutual respect make Tokyo the safest city I have ever lived in, “he says.
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