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How 10 Indian Cities are Reimagining Neighbourhoods for Young Children & Caregivers

Over 36 million children aged 5 and under live in India’s urban areas, many of them in vulnerable conditions. Studies indicate that healthy childhood development is highly affected by a child’s access to a safe and stimulating public realm, including green open spaces and opportunities to play. In January 2022, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs announced 10 winning cities in the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge, an initiative launched in collaboration with the Bernard van Leer Foundation and WRI India. The announcement followed a year-long journey and competition, in which Indian cities were supported to pilot neighbourhood-level interventions in public spaces, mobility, and around anganwadis, Primary Health Centres, and other facilities to enhance the health and wellbeing of 0-5 year-old children and their caregivers.

Examples of interventions include:

  • Creating formal play spaces in informal settlements
  • Introducing feeding booths and other caregiver amenities in public spaces and transit
  • Experimenting with sensory and nature-based play
  • Converting dumping grounds into micro-parks

Celebrating the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge Cohort

Through pecha kucha-style presentations, officials from 10 cities will share their unique ‘Nurturing Neighbourhoods’ journey, impact, and vision for scaling up. We will also hear reflections from community members and local partners, and recommendations for cities from experts in early childhood development, urban design, and behaviour change. The session will further launch Phase 2 of the program, outlining key strategies that cities will adopt to achieve scale and sustainability of infant, toddler, caregiver-friendly neighbourhoods over the next two years.

This webinar will interest anyone interested in shaping safe, accessible, playful, green, and inclusive neighbourhoods with a focus on young children and families, including – city administrations, urban design and planning professionals, policy makers, NGOs, civic groups, students and professionals working at the intersections of early childhood, gender, and sustainable cities.


  • Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary & Mission Director, Smart Cities Mission, MoHUA
  • Dr. Venita Kaul, Founder and Former Director, Center for Early Childhood Education and Development, Ambedkar University
  • Dr. Arunava Dasgupta, Head of the Department of Urban Design, School of Planning and Architecture
  • Uttara Bharath-Kumar, Senior Social and Behavior Change and Capacity Strengthening Advisor, Johns Hopkins University/Center for Communication
  • Rushda Majeed, India Representative, Bernard van Leer Foundation
  • Prakash Paul, Senior Technical Advisor, Bernard van Leer Foundation
  • Jyoti Gill, Chairwoman, IIA Vadodara
  • Monica Kashkari, Special Officer, Directorate of Urban Land Transport
  • Rishav Gupta, CEO, Indore Smart City
  • Sambhav Ayachi, Assistant Commissioner, Jabalpur Smart City
  • Swapnil Dinkar IAS, CEO, Kakinada Smart City
  • Naushad Ahmad, Architect & Infrastructure Planner
  • Shanavas S, IAS, CEO, Cochin Smart Mission Limited
  • Kezhazelhou Thenou, CEO, KSCDL
  • Niepukhrie Tepa, Nodal Officer KSCDL
  • Dr. Shubhankar Mohapatra, (CEO, Commissioner, ADM), Rourkela
  • S K Patel, CEO, Vadodara Smart City & Mr. Priyank Shah, Smart City Architect
  • Sree Kumar Kumaraswamy, Head, Integrated Transport, WRI India
  • P. Pravinya, CEO, Warangal Smart City & Commissioner, Warangal Municipal Corporation
  • Srimati Kapra Hansdah, Anganwadi teacher, Rourkela

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