Youthful Cities Decade

Did you know that 1 in 10 humans lives in just 100 cities? More than half of those urbanites are under 30 years old.

What impact could we have by creating 100 youthful cities?

It starts with three decades of understanding and innovating with younger generations.

From starting a youth charity to launching and running a global innovation consultancy, Decode Inc. —

Clients of Decode Inc.

to growing a global social enterprise

Youthful Cities logo
A deep, unwavering commitment.
Timeline of Youthful Cities' accomplishments from 1991 to 2022

In almost a decade of Youthful Cities…

We’ve gathered a massive amount of data measuring the youthfulness of over 80 cities globally.

All that data helped us identify real needs in cities according to young people.

We gathered young people in global and local summits and “think and do” labs to build roadmaps and ideas for a better urban future.

All the while, we generated almost a billion global media impressions to build awareness for the youthful cause and our sponsors.

Then Covid hit.

We raised $9 Million.
We gathered partners.
We hired 1200 young people.
We created an intensive urban research project in 27 cities.
We built the world’s first youth-informed open data hub for cities.

We did not stand still.
Now what?

We build 100 youthful cities.

  1. Launch a global urban youthful information hub.
  2. Host youthful gatherings to capture stories & build understanding.
  3. Launch “think + do” labs with local partners to generate inventive solutions.
Global information hub, global summits, and think + do labs

For a decade we have believed

Cities are the world’s progress engines.

Young people are the engineers.


We made great progress with those engineers.

Then we saw cities get absolutely crushed during COVID.

They went from curious, connected, dynamic, open, inventive and playful to indifferent, isolated, idle, closed, inept, and solemn.

In other words,

Cities lost their youthfulness.

So did youth.

They lost 20% of their formative years to Covid.

It was a health, economic, and social crisis added to exsisting climate anxiety.
Globally, more than half of young people (15-29 years old) live in cities.
Their immense sacrifice during COVID has gone unnoticed.

Cities need to be youthful to thrive.

Imagine a city:

  • with a vibrant engaged young workforce boosting prosperity for everyone
  • open to new ideas and people enabling social, economic and climate action
  • adaptable enough to innovate for the challenges of the future
  • filled with enthusiastic, happy people having fun
  • so attractive it keeps and develops youthful people, regardless of age
  • where youth are an integral part of the city fabric
That’s a youthful city.
We need more youthful cities or we atrophy.
We also need more youthful stories and storytellers.

Okay, now here’s what we want to do.

Simply put…more.

More of what we have already done.

Measure youthful cities.
Gather youthful people.
Work with youthful partners.
Regenerate the most influential cities in the world.

That means:

More cities – 100 (representing 1 in 10 humans).
More open data to find the youthfulness in cities.
More inspiring stories to attract youthful champions.
More youthful people gathered to build roadmaps for the future.
More Think and Do Labs to inspire local and global change.
More partners who want to be youthful themselves to make it happen.

The 100 Cities

Which ones will be the most youthful in 2023?

These 100 cities represent about 1 in 10 people in the world.

The Plan

Step 1: Launch global information hub, web apps, city rankings, and media lab

Late 2023

1. Launch global youthful information hub in 100 cities

⮞ Launch 10th anniversary global city rankings

⮞ Launch media lab for global and local awareness

⮞ Launch sponsored web apps

Outcome: Huge awareness to attract our network and supply them with data that identifies core needs through global, useful, comparable, current data

Step 2: Global summit, youthful awards, youthful designation, local stories, local survey

Mid 2024

2. Host Global Summit gathering youthful people from 100 cities to build the roadmap

⮞ Launch local qualitative + quantitative survey in each city

⮞ Launch youthful awards series

⮞ Launch youthful city designation model

⮞ Capture and popularize local stories

Outcome: A clear roadmap on how to build a youthful city and organization co-developed with our network of dedicated youthful champions

Step 3: Think and Do labs

Late 2024

3. Launch local Think + Do Labs with partners in select cities for inventive solutions

Outcome: Fund and execute the roadmaps through a model that properly capitalizes on the best ideas locally and shares globally

4. Create a regenerative model that uses a combination of Lab profits and global sponsorship to grow
2025: Global index, labs. 2026: Global summit, labs. 2027: Global index, labs. 2028: Global summit.

The Topics

These are the youthful issues and attitudes we are measuring to identify needs, build roadmaps and create solutions.

Image of 20 indicators that fall into the categories of live, work, and play

The Youthful Team + Champions

An intergenerational network approach

Two groups will combine to give us the youthful expertise we need to effectively deliver the program and set us up for longer-term sustainability:

  • Young people 15-29 years old who have a wide variety of interests and experience across multiple sectors and industries while maintaining youthful values
  • Members from other generations who live up to the six youthful values

While those under 30 will be the majority it’s important to surround them with mentors and advocates who can show how youthfulness can and should be a lifetime pursuit.

Case Studies

The World’s Most Youthful City

Launched in 2013 and then again in 2015, the Youthful Cities Index captured the attention of the world. Its success enabled Youthful Cities’ first Global Summit with 100 young people from 50 cities.

750 million media impressions, 300+ unique media features, 30+ million Twitter impressions
Canada’s Most Affordable City For Youth

The headline: Not one Canadian city, big or small, is affordable for young people.

Sponsor: RBC Financial Group

Earned Media so far: $800,000 and counting

Initial Investment: $150,000


  • Canada’s Leader of the Official Opposition calls out the federal government using this Youthful Cities index
  • National and Local Coverage in almost every city in the index
  • Social scores almost triple the norms
  • 10 follow-up information sessions hosted for governments, businesses and NGOs
  • Spurred the development of a new youth housing index and government budget submissions
$800,000 in earned media, 10 followup sessions, 12,000+ page views

Want to be a part of the Youthful Cities Decade? Let’s talk.

Interested in joining the Advisory Group for Youthful Cities Decade? Click here to learn more and submit an application.