UNESCO–the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization–has been the major sponsor of Growing Up in Cities since the project’s inception. Kevin Lynch, a professor of urban planning and design at M.I.T., conceived of the project in 1970 in response to a meeting of UNESCO’s new Man and His Environment Programme, which became in time the Man and the Biosphere Programme which continues today.

Fascinated by how people image and use their cities, Lynch was eager to explore children’s urban experience, especially among young adolescents who are beginning to move out into a larger world. National UNESCO committees in Argentina, Australia, Mexico and Poland supported the project at that time.

In the 1990s, Growing Up in Cities was revived by the MOST Programme of UNESCO (Management of Social Transformations), in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Child Research and Childwatch International of Oslo, as well as numerous other national and international organizations which have helped sponsor individual project sites. Under the direction of the MOST Programme, the project has been spreading from an initial eight countries in 1996 to a growing number of new locations.

Growing Up in Cities fits well with the priorities of the MOST Programme, which concern scientific and policy approaches to social development and the management of social transformations, particularly in the areas of multiculturalism, migration, urbanization, and local and regional coping processes in response to global phenomena.


MOST Programme - UNESCO
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E-mail: n.auriat@unesco.org