Urban95 Challenge: Designing cities that support healthy child development

Submission: September 16, 2016
Registration: September 16, 2016
Language: English
Location: Hornachuelos, Spain
Prizes: Details below
Type: Open


As part of its new strategy, the Bernard van Leer Foundation has launched an initiative called Urban95. Urban95 asks a simple question: if you could see the city from an elevation of 95 centimetres – the average height of a healthy 3-year-old child – what would you do differently? How would you organise neighbourhoods, public space, green areas, housing, and transportation? What else would you change or improve in the city?


The Urban95 Challenge is open to creative ideas and projects which promote the wellbeing of young children in cities from the prenatal period up to the age of five.

We are looking for projects in three areas:

  • Influence: projects that find innovative ways to get city officials and community leaders to think more deeply and creatively about the needs of children under five and their parents;
  • Design innovations: projects that make changes in a city’s built environment and, as a result, have a positive impact on children under five and their parents;
  • Performance monitoring: projects that collect data or use existing data to monitor how the city is performing from a young child’s point of view.

What kind of projects could be funded?

We are looking to fund projects that take a practical approach and show concrete results. With that in mind, please note the following guidance:

  • Projects need to benefit pregnant women and/or children under five and their parents;
  • Quick-impact, short-term projects are preferred – we accept proposals for a maximum of one year;
  • We strongly encourage applications for amounts ranging between USD 5,000 and 10,000. A proposal’s budget should not exceed USD 30,000;
  • We strongly encourage proposals for projects implemented by local residents of cities;
  • We strongly encourage the participation of parents and children in the design of projects.

Application process

We will consider applications from anyone – government, businesses, local organisations, groups and individuals – from any country. If you are interested in applying to the Urban95 Challenge, please download the Application Form, fill it in, and send it to Urban95Challenge@bvleerf.nl by September 16, 2016.

Proposals will be assessed on an ongoing basis and we strongly encourage early submission. Questions about proposals or their assessment may also be sent to the email address above, if not covered on the FAQ.

Examples of potential projects

The following examples are mentioned only in order to give applicants a better idea of the Urban95 Challenge. We would very much welcome other projects (not mentioned here) and strongly encourage creative ideas.

  • Influence
    • Projects that use creative communications techniques and (re)framing to show how children under five and their parents experience life in the city;
    • Projects that bring the needs of young children and parents to the attention of urban planners and other decision-makers;
    • Projects that increase child, parent and community participation in the planning of their cities and neighborhoods.
  • Design innovations
    • Projects that (re)design public space for play and child-parent interaction;
    • Projects that (re)design pre-school and childcare to improve learning;
    • Projects that change the interior design of homes to improve child development;
    • Projects that improve street safety for young children;
    • Projects that make transportation easier to use for parents with young children;
    • Projects that improve access to green areas and gardens for young children;
    • Projects that make waiting rooms more engaging for parents with young children.
  • Performance monitoring
    • Projects that use technology to collect real-time data from parents of young children that can be used to help improve infrastructure and service delivery in the city;
    • Projects that use data visualisations to show how the conditions of young children and their parents vary across different parts of a city;
    • Projects that demonstrate innovative, simple ways of measuring how livable a city is from the point of view of young children and their parents.

Go to the competition’s website