India’s Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge selects first 25 cities

Published February 19, 2021

A first cohort of 25 cities have been chosen from the 63 that participated in the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge, a nationwide scale-up of our Urban95 work in India in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and World Resources Institute providing technical support.

The cities are Agartala, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Dharamshala, Erode, Hubballi-Dharwad, Hyderabad, Indore, Jabalpur, Kakinada, Kochi, Kohima, Kota, Nagpur, Rajkot, Ranchi, Rohtak, Rourkela, Salem, Surat, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruppur, Ujjain, Vadodara and Warangal.

During the three-month application period, over 90 cities participated in the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge through remote or in-person discussions and online capacity-building workshops. There was an enthusiastic response from cities to focus on the needs of young children aged 0-5 years and their caregivers in the public realm.

Cumulatively, the 63 participating cities proposed over 300 pilot projects in neighbourhoods across India that would improve the quality of life for over 12 million children aged 0-5 years old. In addition to physical interventions in public spaces, cities have also proposed public engagement activities designed to support behavioural changes and have considered long-term policy and administrative changes needed to place an early-childhood lens in their approach to urban planning and development.

The first cohort of 25 cities will receive technical assistance, capacity building and scale-up support to experiment, and implement trials and pilots over the next six months to demonstrate early wins, solicit citizen participation, and build consensus around their proposals. At the end of the six month period, a final set of 10 cities will be selected from the 25 to receive two years of technical assistance in implementing their proposals.

The Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge is working with cities and their partners to pilot and scale ways to improve public space, transport, neighbourhood planning, early childhood services and data management across city agencies so that infants, toddlers, and their caregivers feel safe to explore, play and engage with their built and natural environment in their neighbourhoods.

It draws on a series of five publications that form the Infant, Toddler, Caregiver-Friendly Neighbourhood Framework, which we developed in partnership with the Ministry’s Smart Cities Mission. The selection of cities has drawn attention from media outlets including The Hindu, Money Control and the Economic Times.