academic benefits

“How Youthful is Your City? Designing a Global Youth Index”

Academic Partnership
The YouthfulCities Index represents an ambitious and innovative attempt to measure and rank 100 cities
around the world according to their conduciveness to youth as places for them to live, work and play. The
first iteration of the Index will be a culmination of data on 25 of the 100 cities, five on each continent.
Through ongoing consultation with young people, the YouthfulCities team has conceived of a set of universal,
quantifiable indicators that directly reflect characteristics that youth look for and value in a city, ranging from
affordability to the availability of arts and culture. The results generated through this research endeavor will
represent an articulation of each city’s relative strengths and weaknesses from a youth perspective. This
information can then serve as a set of reference points for identifying opportunities and enhancing the
resources and strengths of those cities involved in the Index.

Program Outline



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Terms of Student Engagement

Accounting for the curricular objectives of the individual courses, the following
program represents a framework designed to maximize the educational value of
student involvement and ensure that the YouthfulCities team can aggregate the
data necessary for the Index in a timely and consistent fashion. The essential
challenge posed to students will be to conduct a case study on their city, assessing
its relative “youthfulness” both subjectively and through measurable means. An on
the ground-point point person, or “Urban Decoder”, will be identified in each of
the 25 cities, whose principle responsibly will be to coordinate the research efforts
within their respective city. This individual will function as a resource to the
University partner, providing all relevant information and facilitating the research
process.

Project Background
Compelling statistics reveal that 50 per cent of the world’s population is under the age of 24 years old and
that the same percentage of the world’s population currently resides in cities. The convergence of these two
global trends, as youth migrate en masse to cities, has immense implications for the economic, social, and
political landscapes of these urban arenas. Youth constitute a growing force in shaping cities and in
determining their relative success, a fact that too often goes unnoticed and under-appreciated.
In anticipation that such trends will intensify, there is a strong imperative for cities to understand and account
for what is important to young people. Conversely, youth stand to profit greatly from understanding how well
their city caters to their highly diverse needs. Existing research, however, reveals a critical dearth of
knowledge on cities from the youth perspective, which is one void that the YouthfulCities initiative intends to
fill. Through generating a rich and comprehensive reservoir of youth-centric knowledge, YouthfulCities seeks
to empower and engage youth and civic leaders in the process of building better cities.

Youth Index
The YouthfulCities Index represents an ambitious and innovative attempt to measure and rank 100 cities
around the world according to their conduciveness to youth as places for them to live, work and play. The
first iteration of the Index will be a culmination of data on 25 of the 100 cities, five on each continent.
Through ongoing consultation with young people, the YouthfulCities team has conceived of a set of universal,
quantifiable indicators that directly reflect characteristics that youth look for and value in a city, ranging from
affordability to the availability of arts and culture. The results generated through this research endeavor will
represent an articulation of each city’s relative strengths and weaknesses from a youth perspective. This
information can then serve as a set of reference points for identifying opportunities and enhancing the
resources and strengths of those cities involved in the Index.