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Enabling liveable and sustainable city systems

Technology and youth participation in governing intermediary cities

More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and this figure is rising. By 2030, an estimated 60% of the world’s urban population will be under 18. Young people are, and will continue to be, the driving force behind the future of our cities. Rapid urbanisation goes hand-in-hand with another global trend: the fast-growing spread of data-driven, digital technologies that are being used to improve the administration and governance of cities.

Promoting youth participation in the digitalisation of urban life

Responding to this global context, TYPCities is a three-year research programme focussed on youth participation, urban governance, and digitalisation. The project aims to generate original research in the day-to-day governance of intermediary cities in low- and middle-income countries to better understand how data-driven and digital technologies can support or threaten young people’s health, wellbeing, and livelihoods.

  • Senegal
  • Nepal
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Lebanon
  • Colombia
  • Jamaica

Deepening understanding of digital rights urban governance, and youth participation



While proliferating digital technologies for urban governance can facilitate inclusive, democratic, and participatory decision-making, they can also have the opposite effect. Digital urban infrastructure can be used to surveil, monitor, and ‘datafy’ people in public spaces, potentially endangering human rights.

Research on the power dynamics and entrenched socio-spatial inequalities in cities, driven by class, ethnicity, gender, and age, is typically limited to residents of cities in the Global North. This has resulted in a knowledge gap about the impacts of technology on youth health, wellbeing and livelihoods in cities in low- and middle-income countries.


The TYPCities research programme is comprised of five funded research consortia spread across the globe, conducting research projects focussed on Senegal, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Columbia, and Jamaica. Based on multi-site research within and across cities and countries, the projects produce empirical evidence and analytical findings on the role of different digital technologies in urban governance. The findings will inform other funded city programmes that promote youth participation and urban governance.

See 2023 highlights in Fondation Botnar’s annual report
The Future Now.
For Young People

Fondation Botnar
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