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Frequently asked questions

What is Urban95?

The Van Leer Foundation’s Urban95 initiative works with city leaders, planners, architects, and engineers to support the healthy development of young children growing up in cities. It is driven by a simple question – if you could experience the city from 95cm – the height of a healthy 3-year-old – what would you change? Its goal is to support healthier, safer, fairer, and more vibrant cities for young children and for those who care for them. Click here to learn more.

Who can apply to the Urban95 Academy?

The Urban95 Academy is open to Mayors and municipal leaders from all local governments. This includes city planners, designers and other urban professionals working for local city government. If you are not a city official but have an established history of working closely with a local government for example as part of an NGO, you can form a team with the municipality you are working with.

What is an official nominating letter?

Each team must submit an official letter of support from their mayor or other appropriate city leader as part of their application. The letter must indicate the three team members and include the date and an official signature from the relevant city leader. A template for the official letter is included in the online application form.

What are the selection criteria?

Cities must form a team of three municipal officials. The selection criteria are weighted depending on the seniority of the individual team member’s position in government. For example, having your mayor and/or municipal department heads as part of your team would rate you higher in the selection process.

What is the city team size?

Generally, the city teams are comprised of three team members. If you require a larger team, please note this in the ‘further request’ section of the online application form and we will consider this on a case-by-case basis. Please note if your team is invited to the London Residence Week, we can only accept a maximum of three team members to attend in-person.

How much time do I need to commit to attend the academy?

The Urban 95 Academy takes place over seven weeks across 15 online learning modules and seven weekly virtual meetings with LSE academic faculty and guest lecturers. Participants should expect to commit roughly four hours per week to the online course.

Participants of city teams that are selected to attend the fully sponsored Residence Week in London will need to be able to travel and participate in a range of events and in-person training over the course of the week at the LSE in London. The Residence Week takes places three months after the online course.

What does the online course entail?

Across each of the 7 weeks of the online course, two – three learning modules will be released to participations through the online platform Learn Worlds. Participants will also have seven weekly live Zoom sessions discussing the course content in more detail led by LSE academic faculty and guest moderators.

What are the language requirements?

The Urban95 Academy is delivered in English and participants will need to have a very good command of the language to fully benefit from the programme. The weekly live Zoom sessions and the Residence Week have simultaneous interpretation for Spanish and Portuguese.

What is the London Residence Week?

The London Residence Week is a 1-week all expenses paid training at the LSE in London and will take place three months after the online learning component for each cohort.

What is the selection process for the London Residence Week?

Upon completion of the seven-week online learning programme, 10 cities from each cohort will be selected and invited to attend an in-person Residence Week at the LSE in London. Selection will be based on attendance in the weekly live sessions and completion of the 15 online modules, as well as the submission of a final strategy assignment highlighting how the Urban95 programme could be implemented in your city.

What if I want to participate but I am not a city official?

We strongly encourage you to form a team with the municipality where you work. If you are unable to form or join a city team, you can apply to observe the course as an individual. Please note that spaces for observers are extremely limited and highly competitive.