The Economist Events’ Safe Cities Summit hosted more than 160 government officials and leaders from both private and public sectors yesterday (29 Aug) in Singapore to discuss creating and maintaining safe and resilient urban environments on a global scale.
The one-day event addressed various issues with relevant with examples from across the region: the challenge of balancing safety and privacy, the role of law enforcement agencies, the future of urban infrastructure, the need to future-proof cities to become more resilient to climate change, areas for improvement and investment, and strategies to combat cybersecurity.
The summit started off with an examination on the state of safe cities in Asia. Khoo Teng Chye, executive director for Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore’s Ministry of National Development, shared his thoughts from a perspective in Singapore.
“In Singapore, 82% of the population have access to public housing. Housing is fenceless and based on open communities where one can walk from one flat to the next,” Mr Khoo said.
Looking to Japan, Yuriko Koike, governor of Tokyo, stated via video message that “Tokyo is aiming to achieve a tripartite vision. First, as a safe city. Second, as a diverse city. Finally, as a smart city.”
From Hong Kong, Allan Chiang, former privacy commissioner for personal data in Hong Kong noted that “We need more transparency so that consumers can make informed decisions. This breeds trust which is fundamental between individuals, businesses, and government.”
Ultimately, the consensus was that policymakers, security and safety professionals, and tech companies need to come together and create a roadmap that will form solid strategies for the region to be better prepared against safety risks. Such strategies would also help cope with the pressures of urbanisation to support cities as productive hubs for growth whilst ensuring the safety of urban citizens.
Chaired by The Economist’s editors, the event featured a number of esteemed speakers, including:
- Khoo Teng Chye, executive director, Centre for Liveable Cities, Ministry of National Development, Singapore
- How Kwang Hwee, director of operations, Singapore Police Force, Ministry of Home Affairs
- Yoo Il-ho, former deputy prime minister, South Korea
- Mohammad Ramdhan Pomanto, former mayor, Makassar City, Indonesia
- Karthik Ramanathan, senior vice-president, cyber and intelligence solutions, Asia-Pacific, Mastercard
- Mary Jo Schrade, assistant general counsel, digital crimes unit lead, Asia, Microsoft
- Craig Jones, cybercrime director, Interpol
- Walter Lee, evangelist and government relations leader, NEC
- Kanta Subbarao, director, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza
Along with many others. For the full list of speakers, click here.
In conjunction with the event, The Economist Intelligence Unit also announced the results of the Safe Cities Index (SCI) 2019.
Naka Kondo, senior editor, Thought Leadership, at The Economist Intelligence Unit (Asia) explained, “Our research shows that a city’s region does . 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,” she added.