Between 2017-2020, Boğaziçi University Center for Psychological Research and Services was a partner of the Urban95 program in Istanbul initiated by the Bernard van Leer Foundation. This foundation aims to increase the opportunities of socially and economically disadvantaged children since its establishment in 1949. One of the most important projects supported by the foundation in recent years is the Urban95 initiative. This program asks city managers, local governments, city planners, architects, and social scientists a simple question: “If you could see a city from 95 cm, the height of a healthy 3-year-old, what would you change?”

With this question, the foundation encourages people living in and managing cities across many countries to look at the city through the eyes of a 3-year-old child. Because livable cities for a 3-year-old child are livable cities for everyone. With this program, it aims to improve the urban planning and the services provided in the city for families with children aged 0-3.

The Urban95 program, which is the implementation of this program in Turkey, was implemented in Istanbul in 2018 with the cooperation of 4 district municipalities. The program aimed to strengthen the existing capacities of programs and projects that support children and parents carried out by these district municipalities.

Istanbul95 has 3 components.

  1. TESEV and Kadir Has University Istanbul Studies Center developed district maps in which services for children and families are determined based on real estate prices in Istanbul districts and TUIK data.
  2. Superpool Architects designed playgrounds and parks for children aged 0-3 and their parents in the public spaces determined by the municipalities included in the program, and prepared a 0-3 aged based playground design guide for municipalities.
  3. Boğaziçi University Psychology Research and Application Center (BÜPAM) developed a home visitation-based Family Guidance program for families with children aged 0-3 and supervised its implementation by municipalities. Within the scope of this program, 400 families were visited every 2 weeks for the first 18 months starting from the prenatal period, alongside informing mothers about child care and parenting. The impact of the program on mothers and children was evaluated.

Baby95 Early Childhood Unit was established within Boğaziçi University Psychology Research and Application Center to develop a variety of early childhood programs, establish collaborations for field implementation, and conduct research for program impact.

“I did not know that I had to talk to my baby. I did not know that it is good to talk to him even while dressing or bathing him.”