Learn how to design and deliver better cities for babies, toddlers & caregivers, because cities that work for young children, work for everyone.

The Urban95 Academy is a fully-sponsored leadership programme, delivered online over six weeks, to help city leaders design better cities for young children and their caregivers. 
An initiative from the Bernard van Leer Foundation & the London School of Economics & Political Science. 

Urban95 Academy 

A programme for city leaders 

The Urban95 Academy is a six-week programme designed to help local governments develop urban strategies and systems that improve the lives of babies, toddlers and caregivers. The course includes online learning modules and live virtual meetings with LSE Faculty, Bernard van Leer Foundation leadership and global knowledge partners, as well as a fully-sponsored residence week in London. 

Participants will learn how to implement policies, gain effective strategies, and hone leadership skills to create urban environments that support healthy child development.
The Urban95 Academy is open to all local governments. To apply, cities must nominate three members of staff, who can be from the same or different departments. A formal letter of support on official letterhead must be submitted along with the application. One of the three members of staff will need to be a political or elected appointee in the city administration, and one must have at least 10 years of experience. 

The more teams reflect the diversity of their city the better. You may also consider one participant from a long standing partnership outside your administration coming from other public, private or third sector organisation dedicated to urban development in your city. Cities which include the Mayor as part of their team will be prioritised. 

Cohort learning

Each cohort is made up of up to 50 cities that work through 14  learning modules and meet once a week online over a period of 6 weeks. Cohort 4 will take place in March and April 2023, and cohort 5 will take place in May and June 2023. 

In 2022, over 100 cities teams from all over the world have participated in the Urban95 Academy

Residence week 

After successful completion of the course, based on their performance and participation during the online learning sessions ten cities are selected for a fully-sponsored 
leadership residence week at the London School of Economics. 

Introductory video 

Write your awesome label here.

Who attends? 

City leaders from over 115 cities have completed the Urban95 Academy during 2022 in three separate cohorts. From each cohort, 10 cities convened in London for an all-expenses paid intensive week of in-person learning and connecting. Cities from the first cohort of the course have now begun implementing the plans they developed and advanced in London. 

Find out more about the projects brought to the table, the experience of the residence week and the cities that have participated below. 
Watch the short video below to hear from alumni about lesson learned and key takeaways from the programme
Write your awesome label here.

Urban95 Academy Alumni Map 

Write your awesome label here.

London Residence Week 

Click on the photographs to explore which cities participated. 

Cohort 1

Cohort 2

Cohort 3

Benefits of joining the Urban95 Academy

World-leading Education

The programme is designed & delivered by LSE Cities in LSE's School of Public Policy. Upon completion, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion by the London School of Economics and cities with the most promising ideas for taking action will be invited to a fully-funded, intensive, week-long, in-person training in London on the LSE campus. 

Continued Support

Upon completing the programme, cities may be eligible to receive additional technical support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation and its partners and be invited to join the Urban95 global network of city practitioners and officials that are improving the lives of babies, toddlers and caregivers in their cities.

Applied Knowledge

The programme focuses on analysis, strategy, and leadership with case studies from a range of cities that have already delivered Urban95 programmes. The online modules cover policies and programmes on mobility, public space, neighbourhood planning, accessibility, equity and inclusion.

Programme Partners

Bernard van Leer Foundation

The Bernard van Leer Foundation is an independent Dutch organisation working worldwide to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a good start in life. We inspire and inform large-scale action that improves the health and wellbeing of young children – especially the most vulnerable – and the people who care for them.

London School of Economics

LSE is a social science university based in central London with a global reach. Ranked first in Europe and second in the world for social sciences and management in the QS subject rankings 2021. Since 1895 the LSE has been pioneering social science research, challenging existing ways of thinking, and seeking to understand the causes of things in order to transform them. 

LSE Cities

LSE Cities is an international centre that investigates the complexities of the contemporary city. It carries out research, graduate and executive education, outreach and advisory activities in London and abroad. Extending LSE’s century-old commitment to the understanding of urban society, LSE Cities investigates how complex urban systems are responding to the pressures of growth, change and globalisation with new infrastructures of design and governance that both complement and threaten social equity and environmental sustainability. 

Knowledge Partners

The Urban95 Academy learning modules are developed and led by LSE Cities and the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, featuring original content and guest faculty from Arup; Brookings, Clean Air Fund; Gehl; ITDP; NACTO; Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies program

Frequently asked questions

What is Urban95?

The Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Urban95 initiative works with city leaders, planners, architects and engineers to support the healthy development of young children growing up in cities. It is 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? Its goal is to support healthier, safer, fairer and more vibrant cities for young children and for those who care for them. Click here to learn more

Who can apply to the Urban95 Academy?

The Urban95 Academy is open to all local governments. To apply, a city will need to formally nominate three members of staff through an official letter of support to be submitted with the application to secure their spot.

Is there a face to face teaching component?

Upon completion of the six-week online learning programme, 10 cities from each cohort will be selected and invited to attend a week-long training programme in London. Selection will be based on the submission of a strategy proposal highlighting how the Urban95 programme could be implemented in their city. The in-person training programme will take place three months after the completion of the online learning component for each cohort.

What are the selection criteria?

Cities need to put forward teams of three and have an official nomination and endorsement letter to apply to the Urban95 Academy. Based on the number of applications, cities will be selected to ensure a diverse mix of geographical backgrounds.

Can I choose the cohort I would like to attend?

Applicants can request which cohort they would like to participate in and provide an explanation as to why. We will endeavor to place participants in their first choice, but in order to ensure balanced groups, it may not be possible.

How much time do I need to commit to attend the academy?

The Urban 95 Academy six-week programme will be presented across 12, 70-minute long, online learning modules as well as additional weekly virtual meetings with U95 Academy and Bernard van Leer Foundation and partner organisation leadership. Participants should expect to commit roughly four hours per week to programme. 
Participants selected to attend the fully sponsored, week-long residence in London will need to be able to travel to London and participate in a range of events and in-person training over the course of the week.

What are the language requirements?

The Urban95 Academy is delivered in the English language and nominated participants will need to have a very good command of the language to fully benefit from the programme. Live session have simultaneous interpretation for Spanish and Portuguese.

What if I want to participate but I am not a city official?

The Urban 95 Academy is open to all municipalities, but applicants must be part of a local government team to be considered.