UrbanBetter Cityzens

About us

An UrbanBetter​ initiative

UrbanBetter is an Africa-led global social enterprise with a vision to accelerate building of healthy climate-resilient urban environments by integrating health and sustainability into the design and development of built environments in rapidly growing cities worldwide.

 

We are challenging and changing conventional thinking on health creation and re-imagining urban systems and public space as opportunities to accelerate human development while increasing climate resilience.

 

The Cityzens mission is to equip and connect an Africa-led global movement of youth citizen scientists to effectively increase the demand for healthy, climate-resilient urban environments and to mainstream youth participation in urban decision-making.

Physical activity is important for our health – and the health of the environment we run, walk or ride a bike in is crucial.


By learning more about the environments we live, work and play in, Cityzens can raise awareness of the need to address planetary health risks in public spaces for near-term health benefits.

 

Cityzens are youth who:

Aspire: use data to shape new narratives to inform the design of urban spaces for planetary health in partnership with multi-sectoral stakeholders.

Inspire: lead activations that use physical activity to generate data stories about health and climate risks and assets in public spaces e.g. air pollution.

Conspire: build community movements equipped to increase the demand for healthy climate-resilient public spaces and youth involvement in decision-making processes.

We work to shift the landscape of power by building a locally-rooted and globally-connected movement of youth using physical activity, technology and citizen science data to advocate for better access to healthy urban environments and reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

 

We call this precision advocacy!

Cityzens practice precision advocacy, informing urban design for healthy climate resilient public spaces through evidence-informed activism and policy, by:

  • Reclaiming public space for physical activity.
  • Using tech-enabled citizen science to organise running campaigns and collect data that supports advocacy, accountability and justice.
  • Engaging in urban public space governance processes to centre health and climate resilience in key decision-making.

 

Evidence-informed campaigns: 

Our Cityzen Run Leaders

  • Design physical-activity-based data collection campaigns to assess planetary health risks and evaluate the impact of interventions using wearable sensors and the Cityzens portal, mobilising other runners* to join in.
  • Use findings to tailor activism and advocacy to raise awareness and increase demand for clean air and healthy public spaces.
  • Explore opportunities that could benefit from participatory mapping to further raise awareness and drive action e.g. races, walks, car-free days.

*Further training is available for runners who want to become Run Leaders

Data Infrastructure: comprises

  • Self-paced citizen science and advocacy training for runners and Run Leaders
  • Mobile app that allows Cityzens to capture geotagged photo, audio, text data stories on planetary health risks/ sources encountered during public space physical activity.
  • Visualisation platform integrating data from sensors as well as the citizen science multimedia data.

Hubs: 

Hosted by mission-aligned local civil society organisations, Hubs act as social infrastructure, providing a locus point for Cityzens to meet to organise citizen science activations, review data and plan data-led advocacy campaigns, and provide a space for knowledge exchange and shared learning. Hubs also act as a library for wearable air quality sensors that can be borrowed for data collection activations.

Participatory governance:

Cityzens can be a resource to decision-makers by complementing conventional data with participatory mapping approaches. They

  • Feedback findings from Cityzens activations to stakeholders to inform action and support accountability.
  • Apply advocacy skills to effectively engage stakeholders and participate in decision-making.

How to become a Cityzen

Click here to find out how to join a locally-rooted and globally-connected movement that uses citizen science data to advocate for better urban environments. 

Get in touch

We can go further together. Every runner, run leader, Hub, partner and donor has an impact.

Whether you’d like to host a Hub, sponsor Hubs or campaigns or just want to find out more, we’d love to hear from you.