UPDATED, May 22, 2019: NewCities has named Milan as the overall 2019 Wellbeing City, marking the first global award to recognize city-led action on urban wellbeing. The city was selected for its civic crowdfunding platform.
Four other cities were also recognized as winners of the Wellbeing City Awards in specific categories. The categories and their respective winners are:
- Community: Santa Monica, CA the Wellbeing Index
- Economy and opportunity: Pune, India for The Lighthouse project
- Public health: Kigali, Rwanda for the Kigali Car Free Day initiative
- Sustainable environment: Lisbon, Portugal for the Pedestrian Accessibility Plan
A formal ceremony and wellbeing forum will be held in Montreal in June to recognize the winning cities.
- The NewCities Foundation announced the launch of an international competition for its new Wellbeing City Award.
- Applicant cities have to show that their policies positively affect a number of wellbeing indicators like health, environment, safety, education and work-life balance.
- Several cities will win the prize each year, and the first competition's winners will be announced in spring next year.
Cities are eligible to earn all sorts of certifications, honors, distinctions and awards in a plethora of fields, from the environment to safety to tech friendliness. The new, unique Wellbeing City Award honors those that excel in an area which might sound intangible and difficult to measure, but the NewCities Foundation has created comprehensive metrics for measuring the different aspects of wellbeing.
As the focus on equity and sustainability in cities grows, so too does the recognition that humans' wellbeing and quality of life plays into the success of a city's overall operation. For example, poor health and safety can promote more crime, while poor education and work-life balance can affect unemployment levels. Any one factor skewing toward the negative can drag down the others and create instability within a city.
In the end, governments exist to serve residents, and examining wellbeing is a good cross-sectional look at whether residents' needs and desires are being met. Addressing the factors affecting overall quality of life can ensure a city takes an even approach to governance and service distribution.
Smart technology is one way for cities to noticeably improve residents' quality of life by reducing crime, disease risk and emergency services response times, according to a recently released report.