SDG 11 is about making cities and communities safer, more inclusive, sustainable and resilient. Students can undertake actions to support their own community to become more sustainable. This requires their capability to facilitate sustainable change in a systematic way. “More than half of us live in cities. It is estimated by 2050, two-thirds of all humanity – 6.5 billion people will be urban. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. The rapid growth of cities – as a result of rising populations and increasing migration – has led to a boom in mega-cities, especially in the global south, and the number of heavily populated urban areas characterized by substandard housing are becoming a more significant feature or urban life.” (development perspectives, 2017)

In developed countries, it is crucial to think about how we can make our cities more sustainable in order to preserve the environmental ecosystem and to improve human well-being. This means thinking about how we build our cities, how mobility should be organised and how we produce food, also in urban settings. SDG 11 includes sub-targets related to safe and affordable housing and basic services, sustainable transport systems with attention to those in vulnerable situations, sustainable urbanisation, protection of cultural and natural heritage, reduction of the risks of natural disasters, reduction of the ecological impact of cities and communities, green, safe and inclusive public spaces, building and construction.

As an individual you can contribute to this SDG by undertaking actions related to sustainable mobility and logistics, sustainable private infrastructure and public space and by participating in the local decision-making processes.

Action Area

  • Sustainable mobility

    Sustainable mobility

    You can contribute to a more sustainable city by choosing green transportation methods which have a low impact on the environment. Transportation and logistics have a big impact on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Examples of sustainable transportation are walking, cycling or using other green vehicles. When the distances are bigger you can look for alternatives for the car such as public transport or carpooling. Car sharing is also more sustainable and budget friendly than owning a car, because most of the time the car you own is not used. Sustainable transportation also contributes to a more active, healthy lifestyle and improves social interaction.
  • Sustainable and inclusive infrastructure

    Sustainable and inclusive infrastructure

    Sustainable infrastructure refers to how the structural elements (private housing, public spaces, industry etc.) in your community are designed, built and how they operate. In order to be sustainable and inclusive, infrastructure should be designed to have as little environmental impact as possible and to contribute to the well-being of all members of your community (also the more vulnerable). How we build our communities today also impacts future generations. As an individual you can contribute to this SDG by analysing the impact of your home and of the public space in your neighbourhood. You can also initiate local actions to improve it.
  • Community participation

    Community participation

    Students should learn to argue for sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure and mobility strategy their own community. Infrastructure that contributes to human-wellbeing without overshooting the planetary boundaries. As an individual you can engage in local initiatives that promote sustainability or even run for election in your town. As an individual you can be a sustainability change agent by being aware of your values and principles and having the confidence and skills to stand up for your opinion. This means by showing leadership, taking into account other people’s values, facilitating collaboration and co-creation to set up sustainability activities in your community.
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