New LSE Cities leadership programme helps municipal leaders improve the lives of young children

This is an opportunity to influence the way that cities are designed from the perspective of young children and care-givers.
- Dr Savvas Verdis
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The Urban95 Academy, a new fully funded leadership programme, is being launched today (16 September) by LSE Cities, in partnership with the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

Open to municipal leaders across the world, the programme aims to help municipalities understand how their work impacts early childhood development. The Academy will be built on three pillars: vision and analysis; strategy and delivery; and leadership.

Participants will learn how they can effectively deliver policies and services for everyone by reimagining the urban realm with babies, toddlers, and caregivers at the centre.

The Academy features six weeks of online course content alongside virtual live sessions with LSE faculty, Bernard van Leer Foundation leadership and global knowledge partners.

The Academy features original content and guest faculty from interdisciplinary knowledge partners including: Arup, Brookings, Clean Air Fund, Ghel, ITDP, NACTO and Princeton University’s Innovation for Successful Societies Program.

Through the programme, all participants will prepare a strategy outline for their city, and those with the most promising ideas for making their cities better for young children will be invited to attend a sponsored week-long in-person training session at LSE in London. 

The Urban95 Academy will provide training to 120 cities in three separate cohorts throughout 2022 with rolling applications accepted until July 2022. Participation in the Academy is fully funded by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation.

Commenting on the launch of the Academy, Dr Savvas Verdis,a Senior Research Fellow at LSE Cities said: "This is an opportunity to influence the way that cities are designed from the perspective of young children and care-givers."

Cecilia Vaca Jones, Executive Director, Bernard van Leer Foundation said: "Cities that work for babies, toddlers and their caregivers, work for everyone.  Think of babies as an inclusive design principle."

For more information on the project or to register interest, visit: