Within the next 30 years, as much as 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. More and more young people are growing up in cities. These urban environments must be safe for their residents, free from crime and violence, and with safe roads and infrastructure.
In order for young people to truly feel safer, they must be included as critical parts of the problem-solving and decision-making process from the very beginning.
The S²Cities (Safe and Sound City Program) aims to improve young people’s safety and wellbeing in urban environments.
S²Cities helps create structures for meaningfully engaging with and involving young people in ideating and implementing solutions for tackling safety challenges. By leading young people through ideation workshops and bringing them together with urban planners, government officials, and other key decision-makers, S²Cities is also helping cities take young people’s insights and make changes at a deeper, systemic level to create safer urban environments for years to come. The program has launched in two cities; Bandung in Indonesia and Envigado in Colombia.
At Fondation Botnar, we believe that including the voices of young people in the improvement and evolution of the cities they live in is key in creating the inclusive spaces they deserve. We are proud to support the S²Cities program as it makes a meaningful impact in the lives of young people across the world.
Support cities to better understand how safe they are for young people, through better monitoring, measurement, data and direct engagement with youth voices.
Build local capacities to improve urban safety by providing structures that enable meaningful engagement and empowerment of young people.
Engage young people in innovation processes that lead to their ideas being put into action, and include them as key decision-makers when it comes to their safety.
Use these engagement activities to influence the underlying factors that affect safety for young people in urban environments.
Global Youth Safety in Urban Environments Competition
The program has been collaborative from the onset. A 2021 global competition invited young people aged 15–24 to share their experiences with safety in their respective cities, and their unique challenges and concerns. Entrants responded to a survey and shared program name suggestions as well as photos, videos and drawings of urban safety issues in their environment. The competition drew unique and inspiring entries from 148 individuals from 33 countries around the world, which have shaped and informed the program. Ultimately, the highest-voted name became the new official title of the program: S²Cities: Safe and Sound City. The winning photo, video and drawings – as voted upon by the general public – are available online.
Some of the competition entries, depicting a variety of safety concerns. View more here.