Designing cities that support healthy child development

Urbanisation is rapidly shaping the future of our planet. Today, more than half of the world is living in cities, including more than 1 billion children – a number that is increasing as more families are drawn to cities in search of a better future. Along with new opportunities, however, cities also pose new challenges for families, such as pollution, cramped housing, long commutes and high crime rates.

Urban95 asks city leaders, urban planners, architects and engineers the question: if you could see the city from an elevation of 95 cm – the average height of a healthy 3 year old – what would you do differently? It is premised on the belief that if we want to make a city livable for everyone, planning from the vantage point of a toddler is the best place to start.

In contrast to Parents+, this is an area where much less existing work has been done and where our goal is to work with partners to develop and test a new methodology for urban planning. To achieve this, we will catalogue planning and design innovations that improve young children’s health and development in cities around the world and partner with a set of pioneering cities to test this approach and measure its effects for both children and for the city as a whole.

In the coming years, the foundation will focus on:

  • Establishing strategic partnerships with pioneering cities to apply Urban95 design principles and to demonstrate the benefits to children and to the city as a whole
  • Developing a replicable method of technical assistance to help urban planners mainstream Urban95 design principles throughout the city planning process
  • Cataloguing and promoting planning and design innovations that improve young children’s health and development in cities around the world

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