Urban95: Creating healthy, safe and vibrant cities where babies, toddlers and their families thrive.

We are driven by a simple question: If you could experience the city from 95cm – the height of a healthy 3-year-old – what would you change?

Cities can be wonderful places to grow up, but they can also pose serious challenges for the health and wellbeing of babies, toddlers and the people who care for them – from a lack of nature and safe spaces to play, to air pollution and traffic congestion, to social isolation.

Urban95 is a global initiative created by the Bernard van Leer Foundation that works with leaders, planners, designers, advocates and communities to support the healthy development of young children and the wellbeing of caregivers in cities.

Our goal is to encourage cities to create spaces where children can grow, learn, create, imagine and play across all neighbourhoods, reaching as many families as possible.

Because a city that works for babies, toddlers and their caregivers is a city that works for everyone.

At the heart of Urban95 are dynamic and committed cross-sectoral partnerships with pioneering cities around the world. Visit Brainbuilding.org to learn more about Urban95 and how to start implementing this in your city.


Early Years Starter Kit

The Early Years Starter Kit is designed to help municipal or national governments and their partners understand the value of investing in their youngest inhabitants and the people who care… Read more

Designing Streets for Kids

Designing Streets for Kids sets a new global baseline for designing urban streets with a focus on the specific needs of babies, children, and their caregivers. Read more

Access and babies, toddlers, and their caregivers

This brief was a collaboration between ITDP and  the Bernard van Leer Foundation, bringing a focus on the mobility needs of babies and toddlers (0-5 years old), as well as… Read more

Air quality in early childhood

This report, developed by our partner WRI Brasil for the Urban95 programme, details the harmful effects of air pollution on children's health and presents actions to minimize them. Read more

Transit oriented development: how to make inclusive cities

Transit-Oriented Development, or TOD, is an approach to designing "complete neighbourhoods" in which people can connect efficiently to services and activities through quality public transport, walking and cycling. By integrating… Read more

Policy brief: Air Pollution in Early Childhood

Air pollution causes long-lasting damage to young children. During pregnancy, for example, pollution is almost as bad for the foetus as smoking. As children grow up, their developing brains and… Read more

Cycling cities for infants, toddlers, and caregivers

Being able to cycle safely around their city can have a profound impact on caregivers and children aged 0-3, yet there has so far been limited research into how cities… Read more

Supporting urban childhoods

Observations on caregiver use of public spaces from Pune (India) and Istanbul (Turkey) share spatial knowledge from a research initiative done in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and the… Read more

Playground ideas for 0-3 years

Playground ideas for 0-3 years

Available in English, Turkish and Portuguese as part of the Istanbul95 programme, this new guide shares practical ideas for designing playgrounds that work for children aged 0-3 and their caregivers. Read more

Infant, Toddler, Caregiver-Friendly Neighbourhood (ITCN) Framework and Guidelines

What can cities do to nurture positive early experiences and protect against negative ones? How can neighbourhoods and therefore cities support parents to talk and play with children? How can… Read more

Toolkit - For measuring urban experiences of young children

People moving count, stationary activity mapping, intercept surveys and sensory mapping are among the tools that can be used to gather data on young children and caregivers in cities. They… Read more

Space to Grow - Ten principles that support happy, healthy families in a playful, friendly city

Space to Grow - Gehl Institute and Gehl

In partnership with the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Urban95 initiative, this paper by Gehl Institute and Gehl briefly distils 10 initial findings from research to explore how public spaces in… Read more