Sara Candiracci

Associate Director, Europe Lead Social Value & Inclusive Cities

I am an Associate Director at Arup and Europe Leader for Social Value and Equity. I am an urban planning and development expert, and a social researcher, with more than two decades of experience in designing and leading programmes focused on more equitable, inclusive, healthy and resilient cities. I lead Arup’s work on gender-responsive urban planning and child-friendly and playful cities, which won the 2020 Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Award for “Best Use of Thought Leadership”.  I also have the ability and passion to use applied research to shape innovative ideas and approaches and transform them into strategies and practices that enable innovation and change. Some examples are the Proximity of Care Design Guide, the Playful Cities Toolkit, the Nature Based Play Report, and the Cities Alive Publication Designing Cities that work for Women

Prior to Arup, I have worked with UN Agencies, Development Banks and NGOs, establishing and implementing urban development projects and programmes together with cities and partners in Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia. I have provided strategic advice, technical expertise and thought leadership in projects such as the World Bank ProMaputo Municipal Development Programme, the UN-Habitat Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme, and the UN-Habitat/UNEP/GEF BRT and NMT Mobility Programme in East Africa. 

I really enjoy managing multidisciplinary projects and teams, and engaging different stakeholders in decision-making and planning, in particular the most vulnerable and excluded groups. I truly believe in the power of collaborative partnerships to achieve step-change outcomes in global issues. This is why I am a member of the Cities4Children’s Steering Committee and of the Real Play Coalition

I hold a PhD in urban planning, with a thesis on the role of cultural heritage in place-making and sustainable development in East Africa.

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