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Take the Youth Innovation Challenge to Create a Safe, Inclusive City

Red Dot Foundation aka Safecity and the UN invite undergraduate students to design an innovative and implementable plan to build safer cities for women and other minorities

Riddhi Chakraborty Jul 10, 2018

The Youth Development Challenge invites undergraduate students aged 18-25 from colleges in Mumbai to design women-friendly city plans.

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While cities are considered spaces of liberation and collaboration, they are not as inclusive of all parties that live within them. With the fear of sexual harassment, violence and misogyny holding women (and other minorities) back from participating in building the blocks of a booming metropolis, tech non-profit Red Dot Foundation aka Safecity and UN Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) have created a program for young people to counter it.

The Youth Design Innovation Challenge seeks to involve young people in the fight to solving gender equality issues. The challenge aims to spread awareness about inequality and its intersection with sustainable and safe transportation, environmental conditions, urban planning and governance and then create solutions that are innovative and practical.

“We need a city not just to live and work in but also play in,” explains Elsa D’Silva, founder and CEO of Safecity. “That determines the quality of life. Unfortunately for half that population (non-male) there is no access to safe public spaces or transport, many times mobility is restricted resulting in fewer opportunities to explore one’s potential. It is neither fair nor a conducive environment to exercise one’s civic rights.” The Youth Design Innovation Challenge was created as part of the United Nation’s Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces program. 

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Undergraduate students aged 18-25 from colleges in Mumbai will work in teams to design women-friendly city plans. Participating colleges will be invited to form teams of minimum two people and maximum four people–at least one member from each team must be female. The teams from each college will then attend the kick-off of the Youth Design Innovation Challenge on July 22nd. The compulsory inclusion of women in each team ensures that the person who the plan is meant for will have a direct hand in its creation–an opportunity rarely given to women even when it comes to governing laws. “We are exploring these challenges as a diverse group so that we create awareness and facilitate a greater understanding about the issues that face us,” D’Silva says. “Hopefully together we can co-create and collaborate for the city we need.”

To enter each team must send in a concept note and identify an issue related to any of the key themes (Gender Equality, Mobility, Environment and Governance.) The concept note should detail a solution that resolves a local problem in the metropolitan areas of Mumbai and must be possible to apply or test within a five kilometre radius of their location. Students from various fields are welcome, including engineering, journalism, architecture, design and management and must submit their designs by July 15th, 2018.

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For more details on how to enter as well as additional guidelines, click here.

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