The Emerging Urban Leaders program addresses the growing demand for access to nature in urban spaces. Launching in 2021, this initiative will create a network that includes architects, urban planners, community organizers, policymakers and conservationists, who are matched with mentors to develop innovative solutions and quality cities of the future.
Why do we need an Emerging Urban Leaders program?
Most people now live in cities and this trend is set to continue and accelerate. Unfortunately, many cities are neither good for their populations nor for the planet. The environment we live in affects how we live our lives and the quality of the lives we lead. However, rather than promoting nature, health, and equity our urban environments often do the reverse. Green space is frequently undervalued and, in many cases, remains a preserve of the wealthy. The design of towns and cities commonly encourages unhealthy behaviours and a lack of social cohesion. And public spaces can be unengaging or even unwelcoming.
The power to shape urban spaces is too often held in the hands of a few and neglects the wants and needs of many urban residents.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of these issues into the mainstream and a global conversation is beginning about rethinking the urban contract.
The Emerging Urban Leaders program pushes that conversation forward and outward. It brings together a diverse, cross-sectoral, and international cohort of practitioners and changemakers who together will implement innovative, practical interventions to tackle the problems facing our urban environments and to help build the quality cities of the future.
Why a network?
The experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic show that physical distance does not need to result in a decrease in social connectedness. More people in more places are more comfortable developing meaningful relationships with those they have never met in person than ever before. This is a great moment for online networks to support change in many different contexts.
One of the most powerful things about effective, purpose-driven networks are the ways in which members can draw energy from them; emotional (through connection), spiritual (through shared purpose), and mental (through stimulation and collaboration) energy levels can all be replenished and renewed though engagement and participation. This is a core part of the reason the network is at the heart of the Emerging Urban Leaders program.
The Emerging Urban Leaders program engages outstanding individuals, who have radical ideas that relate to how parks and nature can improve the quality of life of people who live in urban environments. We are interested in any ideas that meet this broad threshold. Ideas that relate to the nexus of urban design, health and well-being, climate change mitigation/adaptation, empowerment for marginalized groups, and inclusive and liveable communities are particularly encouraged.
What are the main goals of the Emerging Urban Leaders program?
- Advance the role of nature in urban spaces by:
- Raising the profile of urban parks work
- Advancing innovative urban parks ideas
- Build, support and sustain a network of diverse, excellent urban leaders
- Create a portfolio of projects that demonstrate effectively how urban environments, in particular green space, can advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- Create a forum for cutting-edge thinking on urban space and related issues
- Support collaborative urban space projects, which:
- Advance the specific indicators of the SDGs
- Utilize the broader networks of Salzburg Global Seminar and World Urban Parlks
- Advance new ideas that can support cohort Fellows’ organizations’ own agendas
- Increase cross-cultural understanding throughout the Emerging Urban Leaders Fellowship
What does the Emerging Urban Leaders program hope to achieve through these goals?
- Reduce inequalities in urban areas, particularly relating to in health, well-being, and quality of life
- Increase access to nature for everyone in urban environments
- Increase the perceived value and connection to public, green and blue space within urban environments.
Two-Hour Monthly Meetings
- One hour of discussion with an influential leader.
- One hour of group discussion, peer-peer advice sharing, reflection, and project progress reports.
- Each Fellow undertakes a practical project over the course of their participation in the program. Project ideas were submitted as part of the application process.
- Ongoing support to implement the projects is provided in the form of mentorship, peer advice, and regular goal-setting and feedback sessions.
- Each Fellow is assigned a mentor-based (where possible) on their preferences to support them in implementing their project.
- Mentor and mentee meet regularly over the course of the year-long program.
- Fellows have the opportunity to submit articles to the ICLEI Cities with Nature Buzz monthly newsletter, Salzburg Global, World Urban Parks, and the Diplomatic Courier, as well as present their work on the Futures Cities Podcast and the World Urban Parks congress.