Sustainable cities and communities

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

By 2030 this Goal aims to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing, basic services, and transport systems. It also includes targets to enhance urban planning, reduce the environmental impact of cities, provide access to green and public spaces, and preserve cultural and natural heritage. In addition, it has targets aimed at preventing death and loss from disasters. Read more on the UN SDGs website…

See lesson plans, posters and other resources on the World’s Largest Lesson website

You could use the animation below from UN-Habitat to start off a lesson about cities and communities. It uses a city made from paper and cardboard to demonstrate the issues caused by rapid and uncontrolled urban growth, and to explore possible solutions. Perhaps your students could create their own paper city!

Here are some teaching ideas for exploring this Goal through different subjects:

English / Mother tongue: Students could debate why preserving cultural and national heritage is important. Should public money be spent on this?

Maths: Students could research the number and size of public parks in different cities, calculating the total area of ‘green space’ in each city, and comparing the data.

Geography: Students could use maps to work out how far various places are from public transport in your local area – their home, school, shops and hospital. They could also do a traffic survey near their school, how many cars and private forms of transport pass by compared to buses or trams. What impact do these have on people’s lives and the environment?

History: You could investigate various housing reforms that have happened over the 19th and 20th centuries, and the positive and negative consequences of these. For example, slum clearances, the building of new towns and garden cities and high rise developments after the Second World War.

Teaching resources

Lesson plans:

Understanding Sustainable Living – 60 mins, ages 11 to 14. Suitable for Social Studies, Geography, Science.
An Energy Project for the Global Goals – 60 mins, ages 8 to 11, kicking off a six-month project. Suitable for Geography, Maths.
The Power of Peace – 60 mins, ages 8 to 11. Suitable for Social Studies, Citizenship, PSHE.

Read through our feature article on Cities: Our Urban World

Browse through further resources that can help you teach about homes

Browse through further resources that can help you teach about cities

Browse through further resources that can help you teach about disasters

Get the poster


Global goals

Click on the images below to explore the other Global Goals: