about page poster depicting young people as creators of safe and sound cities

Young people bring energy, life, and fresh perspectives to cities.

However, they often lack access to safe and inclusive spaces in today’s urban environments. They are rarely empowered to participate in meaningful ways in shaping their cities.
With their unconventional thinking and fresh perspectives, young people have the potential to transform their cities in innovative ways. They are a growing demographic in a rapidly urbanizing world; thus, their voices are important in shaping the future of their urban environments.
However, today’s cities are often far from welcoming spaces for their young residents. Young people lack the opportunities and capacities to exercise their right to safety, being rarely empowered to participate in meaningful ways in shaping their cities. Also, municipal authorities may lack capacity in youth engagement and in holistically assessing and addressing urban safety.
The S²Cities Programme aims to empower young people of ages 15 - 24 in cities to shape safer and more inclusive urban environments. By partnering with strategic advisors, learning partners, and local implementation organizations, the programme connects young people to the resources they need to become agents of change in their cities.
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Principles Shaping Our Programme

Urban safety

(n.) /ˈərbən/ /ˈsāftē/
Measures taken to counter feelings of insecurity and exclusion among city residents and to tackle the root causes of those feelings. By improving urban safety, the programme strives to ensure freedom of movement and access, support unhindered participation in public life, and increase ownership and belonging.

Relational approach to wellbeing (RWB)

(n.) /rəˈlāSH(ə)n(ə)l/ /ˈˌwel ˈˌbēiNG/
RWB is an integrative approach to understanding wellbeing that looks beyond individual psychology or behaviour and focuses on the underlying processes that promote healthy environments and happy lives. The concept is centred around three interlinked dimensions of wellbeing: material (having enough), relational (being connected), and subjective (feeling good).

The approach also goes beyond the experience of wellbeing to address the underlying conditions that promote or hinder wellbeing. It targets three forms of underlying drivers of wellbeing: personal (personality and personal history), societal (social norms, economy, and culture), and environmental (built environment, climate, and ecological sustainability).


(n.) /ˌinəˈvāSH(ə)n/
Progressive solutions that bring incremental improvements to products or processes. Today, innovation in cities utilizes experimentation, human-centric design, data analytics, and technology to identify future possibilities and opportunities. We see young people as key stakeholders in driving innovation processes in cities.


(n.) /kō’krēˈāSH(ə)n/
A process of value creation through productive collaboration between all relevant parties that places end-users at the center. In city development, it involves the active flow of information between governments, academia, businesses, non-profits, and citizens, to ensure a common understanding of problems and generate common solutions.


(n.,v.) /plāsˈmākiNG/
Placemaking invites people to collectively reimagine and reinvent urban spaces as the heart of every community to maximize shared value. It facilitates creative patterns of use, considering the physical, cultural, and social identities of a place, as well as the needs of different users.

Participatory decision-making

(n.) /pärˈtisəpəˌtôrē/ /dəˈsiZHənˈmākiNG/
A creative process that gives ownership of decisions to a group as a whole to find effective options that work for everyone. A common process of participatory decision-making is consensus-building — finding the common ground through solutions that are acceptable to all and are best for the group’s priorities.