OCTOBER 31 has been designated as World Cities Day by the United Nations General Assembly to promote cooperation among countries in addressing challenges or urbanization and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.
The general theme of World Cities Day is “Better City, Better Life,” with a different sub-theme selected each year. 2018’s theme is “Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities.”
“Over the last decade, natural disasters have affected more than 220 million people and caused economic damage of US$100billion per year,” United Nations said.
“By 2030, without significant investment to make cities more resilient, natural disasters may cost cities worldwide three times that amount a year and climate change may push up millions of urban residents into poverty. Hundreds of cities and communities are struggling with the impact of crisis – including conflicts, natural disasters, failures in governance and economic stress.”
Hence, this year’s theme centers on the cities which need support to become resilient and develop their capacity to absorb the impact of hazards, protect and preserve human life and limit damage to and destruction of public and private assets while continuing to provide infrastructure and services after a crisis.
While urbanization has taken a heavy toll on city dwellers’ health, here are some cities in the world that are more resilient than others, according to a study by rental agency Spotahome.
Spotahome analyzed data from the World Health Organization, TripAdvisor, and the CIA World Factbook to score each city on health, gym availability and quality, life expectancy, obesity, and green space.
Sydney, the capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities, may have come out on top in The Guardian‘s top five healthiest cities list in 2012, but one other Australian city has taken the limelight.
Located north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide is South Australia’s cosmopolitan coastal capital.
The artsy city is bursting with culture, flavors, events, and entertainment, with its world-famous wine regions mere minutes away from the city and picture-perfect beaches just around the corner.
In this city, only 1.38 percent of adults have obesity, and the air and water quality scored a relatively high 8.88 percent out of 10.
Other Australian cities worth mentioning include Perth, Brisbane, and Canberra.
New Zealand: Wellington
Nicknamed, “Windy Wellington,” the capital of New Zealand its near the North Island’s southernmost point on the Cook Strait.
Wellington may be a compact city but is truly stunning, encompassing a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbor, and colorful timber houses on surrounding hills.
Its energetic personality translates well into its vibrant creative culture fuelled by great food, wine, craft beer, coffee, and events.
In 2015, its city council rolled out a “growing a healthy city” initiaitve to keep Wellington healthy and alive by planting trees and incorporating nature into the city’s design through a movement of living architecture.
Today, Wellington scores the highest in terms of air and water quality (10 percent), and among the highest in terms of green spaces (9.29 percent).
This small city in Asia has a big reputation around the world.
Not only is it known for its artistic heritage, shiny central business district, rich culture and a history spanning decades, the island city-state also takes pride in being a “garden city.”
Introduced in 1967 by then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, the “garden city” vision aims to transform Singapore into a city with abundant lush greenery and a clean environment in order to make life more pleasant for the people.
It was also envisaged that the presence of ample greenery in an environment clean of litter would signify that it was a well-organized city and hence a good destination for tourists and foreign investments.
In 2012, as countries across Asia were burdened with concerns about obesity rates, Singapore rolled out plans to restrict advertising for unhealthy food and drink aimed at children.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 85 years.
Coming in close is the city of Tokushima in Japan, which has a country life expectancy of 84 years and an infant mortality rate at just 2.7 percent.
Located in the Tokushima Prefecture of Shikoku island, the city’s strategic location at the mouth of the beautiful Yoshino River, surrounded by the mountains and the sea, affords it a stunning scenery of colorful flora and fauna.
From rafting in Oboke and Koboke Gorges to surfing in Kaifu, to soaking in the views from the soothing hot springs, before discovering Tokushima’s treasure box filled with delicious cuisine, it has much to offer.
In 2016, Tokushima Prefecture announced it had adopted an ordinance to promote climate measures that will free the prefecture from its reliance on carbon.
This is in line with its efforts toward a carbon-free society.
Other cities in Japan that rank high include Okayama, Kagoshima, and Oita.