First elected mayor in 2016, Claudio Castro has served Renca, Chile–a territory within the city of Santiago–for eight years. A civil engineer with a master’s degree in public administration, he champions environmental and social justice, winning 92% of the vote in his second election in 2021. Castro attended the Urban95 Academy in 2022 and has made child-friendly urban planning a central part of his governance under an initiative named Growing in Renca. (The following interview was conducted by video chat and has been edited for length).

AG:  How did you come to participate in the Urban95 Academy?

CC: A foundation related to President Bachelet called Citizen Horizon invited me to a workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark in partnership with the Van Leer Foundation. After this workshop, I understood that urban planning can be one of the most powerful tools to address inequalities because of the impact on the space where people live their lives, especially children.

I came back to Chile very excited to bring together two areas that don’t commonly speak, urban planning and our department of children initiatives. When I saw that the Urban95 Academy was happening, we wanted to participate.