Catalysing youth-driven action for safer cities.

For young people to thrive, urban environments need to be just, inclusive, and safe. They need to have adequate and accessible public spaces that stimulate positive social interactions and wellbeing. And young people should have a say in shaping these urban environments and experiences.
The phrase “safe and sound” evokes feelings of happiness, security, and peace.
“Safe and sound” inspired the name of our programme, as it aligns with our vision of what cities should be.
In fact, the name was suggested by Mohamed Abulfadl, a young sixteen-year-old from Egypt, in an international competition for young people!
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The S²Cities Programme (Safe and Sound Cities Programme) aims to improve young people’s safety and wellbeing in urban environments.
Focusing on young people between the ages of 15 and 24, the programme will engage local governments, institutions, the private sector, community actors, and young people. Together, we will create platforms for meaningful youth engagement in ideating and implementing solutions to safety and inclusivity challenges.
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
Driving Systemic Change
S²Cities is an open and iterative programme based on a cyclical process of system understanding, building capacities, prototyping solutions, and improving and scaling solutions.

Our Approach

theory of change icon for understanding systems
Step 1

Understanding Systems

theory of change icon for building capacities
Step 2

Building Capacities

theory of change icon for catalysing innovation
Step 3

Catalysing Innovation

theory of change icon for scaling systems
Step 4

Scaling Systems

Step 1

Understanding Systems

Reveals tactical triggers for change
  • Looking at safety from young people’s perspective
  • Examining the interrelations of safety issues which affect young people
  • Analysing the root causes of safety issues
Learning Framework
Stakeholder Mapping
Systemic Analysis
Participatory Data Collection
Step 2

Building Capacities

Fosters long-term sustainable change
  • Connecting actors and building networks
  • Creating inclusive structures for decision-making
  • Developing capacities of youth and public and private sector actors to sustain change
Gap Research
Training
Private Sector Engagement
Youth Empowerment
Step 3

Catalysing Innovation

Challenges the status quo
  • Applying design thinking methodology
  • Framing new mindsets to tackle complex safety issues
  • Harnessing young people’s creativity to solve local challenges
Research
Ideation
Co-Design
Selection & Launch
Implementation & Monitoring
Step 4

Scaling Systems

Generates widespread change
  • Adapting and improving methods to fit local contexts
  • Scaling the learnings to other cities
  • Changing the system on a personal, societal, and environmental level
Research
Advocacy
Global Learning Network
Communications
Safer cities created for and with young people.
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Our Approach
Step 1
theory of change icon for understanding systems

Understanding Systems

Reveals tactical triggers for change
  • Looking at safety from young people’s perspective
  • Examining the interrelations of safety issues which affect young people
  • Analysing the root cause of safety issues
Learning Framework
Stakeholder Mapping
Systemic Analysis
Participatory Data Collection
Step 2
theory of change icon for building capacities

Building Capacities

Fosters long-term sustainable change
  • Connecting actors and building networks
  • Creating inclusive structures for decision-making
  • Developing capacities of youth and public and private sector actors to sustain change
Gap Research
Training
Private Sector Engagement
Youth Empowerment
Step 3
theory of change icon for catalysing innovation

Catalysing Innovation

Challenges the status quo
  • Applying design thinking methodology
  • Framing new mindsets to tackle complex safety issues
  • Harnessing young people’s creativity to solve local challenges
Research
Ideation
Co-Design
Selection & Launch
Implementation & Monitoring
Step 4
theory of change icon for scaling systems

Scaling Systems

Generates widespread change
  • Adapting and improving methods to fit local contexts
  • Scaling the learnings to other cities
  • Changing the system on a personal, societal, and environmental level
Research
Advocacy
Global Learning Network
Communications
While aligning with these larger goals, local partners design their own methodology according to the local context and the city’s needs and priorities. Youth engagement is central to all stages of the programme.

Programme Cities & Timeline

In the pilot phase (2021-22), the programme launched in two growing secondary cities, where young people and their wellbeing feature prominently in the national and local agenda.
Our work in these cities is made possible through our collaboration with ICLEI, a global network of 2500+ local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. ICLEI’s Regional Offices play a key role in securing partnerships with local governments for the S²Cities Programme. They also support local implementation through partner organisations with strong local networks and expertise in grassroots-level impact.
INDONESIA

Bandung

By 2050, 60% of Indonesia’s population is estimated to reside in urban areas. Bandung, its 4th largest city, is expected to accommodate some of this population growth, a large proportion of which will be young people. Along with ICLEI Southeast Asia, WRI Indonesia will support Bandung’s youth to proactively contribute to policymaking for urban safety, engaging young people in research and formalising a youth consultative group for the local government.

COLOMBIA

Envigado

With Colombia’s youth population projected to peak in 2030 at 8.8 million, there is a growing national interest in creating avenues for youth engagement in political and civic matters. In alignment with this agenda, our local partner Fundación Mi Sangre, in collaboration with ICLEI South America, will engage local young people with experience in community volunteering and advocacy to strengthen their capacity to catalyse change.

Following the pilot phase, we aim to expand our multi-year programme to ten secondary cities across the Global South, seeking co-funding to scale its implementation.

Spotlight & Blog

About The Collaborative

The S²Cities Global Programme Team is a collaborative of organisations leveraging their individual knowledge and expertise to create safer cities for young people.

Global Partners

Global Infrastructure Basel
PROGRAMME MANAGER AND STRATEGIC Advisor
PROGRAMME MANAGER AND STRATEGIC Advisor

Global Infrastructure Basel

Supporting the design, implementation, and scaling of sustainable and resilient urban infrastructure solutions.

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BUUR | Part of SWECO
STRATEGIC ADVISOR
STRATEGIC ADVISOR

BUUR | Part of SWECO

Bringing placemaking perspectives to build safe and thriving communities.

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Relational Well Being Collaborative
STRATEGIC ADVISOR
STRATEGIC ADVISOR

Relational Well Being Collaborative

Developing a relational and integrative approach to understanding, assessing and advancing wellbeing.

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EAFIT University
GLOBAL MONITORING, EVALUATION AND LEARNING PARTNER
GLOBAL MONITORING, EVALUATION AND LEARNING PARTNER

EAFIT University

Creating, synthesizing, and transmitting new knowledge to support research and learning.

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City Collab
GLOBAL COMMUNICATION PARTNER
GLOBAL COMMUNICATION PARTNER

City Collab

Using storytelling to advance outreach and build an engaged community around issues of youth safety in cities.

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Local Partners

ICLEI
LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT PARTNER
LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT PARTNER

ICLEI

Fundaciòn Mi Sangre
LOCAL CAPACITY BUILDING AND YOUTH SAFETY INNOVATION PARTNER
Colombia, Envigado,
LOCAL CAPACITY BUILDING AND YOUTH SAFETY INNOVATION PARTNER

Fundaciòn Mi Sangre

Activating ecosystems that enable new generations to lead the construction of a peace culture in Colombia.

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WRI Indonesia
LOCAL CAPACITY BUILDING AND YOUTH SAFETY INNOVATION PARTNER
Bandung, Indonesia,
LOCAL CAPACITY BUILDING AND YOUTH SAFETY INNOVATION PARTNER

WRI Indonesia

Championing the participation of youth in policymaking for safe and resilient urban spaces.

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Funding Partners

Fondation Botnar
PRIMARY DONOR AND STRATEGIC ADVISOR
PRIMARY DONOR AND STRATEGIC ADVISOR

Fondation Botnar

Supporting the design, implementation, and scaling of sustainable and resilient urban infrastructure solutions.

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Grant Managing Partners

Swiss Philanthropy Foundation
GRANT MANAGER AND ADMINISTRATIVE PARTNER
GRANT MANAGER AND ADMINISTRATIVE PARTNER

Swiss Philanthropy Foundation

Creating and administering philanthropic funds to sustainably implement programme commitments.

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Invest in our scaleup

Contact us to explore how you can help young people become active agents of change in cities around the world.
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Make your city an S²City

Our next call for cities to participate will be released in August 2022. Engagement and local implementation activities will then commence in March 2023.
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Stay updated

Learn more about our activities and recent developments by signing up for the S²Cities newsletter.
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