Rooted in a commitment to cross-cultural collaboration, as well as the importance of adaptive capacity to address evolving challenges, citiesRISE works with a linked network of research innovation hubs in cities such as Bogotá in Colombia; Chennai in India; Nairobi in Kenya; Seattle in the United States; Cape Town in South Africa and Stockholm in Sweden. These cities were selected based on criteria such as local leadership, their regional influence and diversity of contexts across the network. In each city, citiesRISE brings together local practitioners, research partners, youth and other stakeholders to create collaborative action. The network approach facilitates rapid collaboration across a diverse set of cultures and enables highly contextualized local work, linked via a global network and a common results framework. 

Current research initiatives include studying multi-component interventions at different developmental stages of young people with a focus on young people’s inner development in schools, colleges, and communities. As new ways of engaging young people and supporting their mental health and wellbeing are developed by social entrepreneurs and youth leaders such as the concept of Gathering Spaces in Nairobi, there are research efforts underway to generate insights and evidence. A core thrust of the work involves the adaptation of innovation in diverse settings. For example the key elements of Gathering Spaces that were originally developed for young people in settlements in Nairobi are currently being adapted for LGBTQ+ and immigrant youth in the US. Similarly the work that started in Chennai, India in bringing an arts-based approach to schools to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people is currently being adapted for the Kenyan settings. Research partners play a key role in collaborating with youth, entrepreneurs and communities to support the rapid adaptation of innovations across multiple cultures, while investigating the key mechanisms and new ways of designing and evaluating interventions.

A core priority for the research efforts involves relooking at how science and research can be accelerated, and new ways of working. There are multi-country research efforts underway to generate insights and to develop a new model for how young people engage with mental health information, resources, and support. Central to all this is how to engage young people in these research efforts, along with finding ways to link science to the wisdom that is held within communities. 

Learn more about our new initiative.