Tel Aviv, Israel

Young children have become a cross-cutting strategic priority for the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, following a partnership agreement between the municipal government, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Tel Aviv Foundation.

Tel Aviv has a proud reputation as a trendsetter among cities, within Israel and around the world, and became in 2017 one of the first cities to embark on a strategic partnership with the Foundation’s Urban95 programme. The programme’s manager is now embedded in the city administration, working closely with colleagues across various departments.

The strategic partnership grew from research by Tel Aviv Bloomberg Innovation Team into the rising cost of living in the city, which identified costs of childcare and early childhood services as a significant popular concern. The Foundation funded follow-up research and meetings for municipal staff, childcare operators and parents to explore ideas for solutions. These meetings attracted the interest of the city’s mayor and CEO.

The partnership is now conducting further research into priority issues for children and families; influencing the spending of a budget for investment in public spaces, such as playgrounds and parks; piloting innovations in areas such as childcare management, play-space design, biking and walking solutions for families; and developing an app for parents with young children to integrate with the city’s digital platform.

As Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv, put it: “Tel Aviv is always interested in implementing new ideas that could improve the quality of life for our residents, and we are excited to be among the first cities in the world to be thinking seriously about how addressing the issues faced by our youngest citizens could have wider ramifications for making the city a better place to live.”