United Nations’ Goal 11 – What it has to do with buying property
The United Nations (UN) was formed after the Second World War by 51 countries. It is committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
In 2015, the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which you can find out more about here.
Goal 11, ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, has the objective of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Making cities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. It involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways.
Why focus on cities?
Cities occupy just 3% of the Earth’s land but account for 60-80% of energy consumption and at least 70% of carbon emissions.
Cities are forever growing due to a population explosion in the last 40 years’ as well as migration, where the job and commercial opportunities and attractions of an urban area far outweigh those of rural areas. Studies show that London is the most popular destination for long-term migrants who entered the UK in recent years’, for example.
By 2050, two-thirds of all humanity – some 6.5 billion people – will be living in an urban setting. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.
How can cities and communities meet Goal 11?
With cities expanding at such a significant rate, builders, developers and investors need to ensure that a city is sustainable with:
- good infrastructure and transport links
- entertainment, and, of course
So, how can investors help with sustainable housing?
In 2015, the Government pledged to build 200,000 new homes a year to tackle the country’s housing shortage, but these targets haven’t been met. The UK needs more housing – especially in inner cities where more apartments and fewer houses are required.
Property developers and investors are doing their bit, however, creating homes whether it is:
- development (e.g. building on brownfield sites)
- mixed-used premises (such as a shop downstairs, and flats upstairs)
- turning an old warehouse into apartments
- buying a residential property, refurbishing it, and letting it to tenants.
Already, many developers are converting commercial properties to residential use, especially with the change to the law in 2013 under Permitted Development Rights (PDR). This change means some types of commercial property can be converted to residential without the need for full planning permission.
Buy in high demand areas
As investors, we should follow the demand for housing. The demand for good-quality, affordable housing is high in cities and student towns. Look for opportunities to develop and buy property in these areas.
For example, what existing property is available? Perhaps an old Homebase could be turned in to apartments? Or a run-down HMO in a newly gentrified city suburb can be refurbished to make better quality homes – while attracting higher rents.
If you are buying just outside of a city, then ensure there are excellent transport links (such as from new green towns) with easy access to the city centre.
Finally, please read our recent blog: How property can make you money quickly. This discusses buying in cities as well as strategies you can employ to solve housing problems – while still making amazing money
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