Our work on Goal 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s first university to have social responsibility as a core goal, we’re tackling the SDGs in four inter-related ways: through our research, learning and students, public engagement activity and operations.

Here’s a selection of our work addressing Goal 11.


African Cities Research Consortium

Our African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC), funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) as part of UK Aid, will tackle complex problems in some of Africa’s fastest growing urban areas.

Over six years, our research will generate new evidence to catalyse integrated, sustainable, inclusive approaches to urban development in partnership with frontline humanitarian responders, effective policy influencers, local government networks and deeply rooted civil society groups.

Mobilising Urban Living Labs to create sustainable infrastructure

Our research on Urban Living Labs has transformed sustainable infrastructure provision locally, and enhanced capacity in East Africa, South America and the Philippines.

Locally we’ve shaped £26m of infrastructure investment by Manchester City Council as well as replacing 20,000km of delivery van trips with e-cargo bikes. Globally, we’ve delivered walkability action plans and improved road safety for 5.8m citizens across East Africa, South America and the Philippines.


Learning and students

Sustainable Cities MOOC

Our academics have contributed to a free massive open online course (MOOC) developed with Lund University, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

83,000 students around the world have used this to explore key trends of urbanisation and sustainability and apply this in advancing sustainability in cities around the world.

University Living Lab

Our University Living Lab applies the energy and expertise of students to real-world sustainability challenges by developing student projects with external organisations linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Public engagement

Ageing-friendly culture

Our Manchester Museum is working with regional and national partners to host a pioneering Creative Ageing Development Agency (CADA) – a national organisation advocating for and supporting the culture sector to be more age friendly.

Towards Inclusive Environmental Sustainability

Our Towards Inclusive Environmental Sustainability research project is engaging with communities of Pakistani and Somali heritage (two of the largest and fastest-growing groups in Manchester) on research to understand how knowledge and practices of migrants from the Global South contribute to building just and sustainable cities in the Global North.



Sustainable travel

We received platinum accreditation from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), recognising the University’s contribution to sustainable low-carbon travel.

Cultural institutions

Our four key cultural institutions – the Manchester Museum, the Whitworth, John Rylands Research Institute and Library and Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre – provide access to more than a million visitors each year to engage with buildings, collections, monuments and natural heritage landscapes, advancing how our city and region can be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.