UKCDR policy briefing

Lucy Earle, IIED

The built environment is critical to international development and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. By 2050, an estimated 68% of the world’s population will live in towns and cities. The majority will dwell in small and medium-sized urban centres in Africa and Asia,i approximately half of which are yet to be built. This presents policymakers and built environment professionals with a huge challenge but also a significant opportunity: to change how towns and cities are built, incorporating affordable, low-carbon building techniques that are resilient to climate change and support the equitable and sustainable provision of basic services. Built environment research should be challenge-driven, inter- or trans-disciplinary, focused on rapidly urbanising countries and supportive of innovative, participatory methodologies that foster capacity building and research impact.  

This briefing summarises the findings and recommendations of a review of research on the built environment and its intersection with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the global south. IIED was commissioned by UKCDR to undertake the review to identify research gaps and provide recommendations to research funders.