Urban Housing & Land Justice & the SDGs

Urban Housing & Land Justice

To "leave no one behind" is the central premise of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a focus on all groups, including the vulnerable and marginalised, the SDGs are a commitment to recognise the dignity of communities and individuals irrespective of socio-economic status. Historically, land and housing inequality has been at the core of many other types and forms of inequality and injustice, manifesting in social, economic, spatial, ecological, political and gender issues. Addressing land and housing inequality enables poverty reduction, income generation, and investment, often benefiting the privileged few and, therefore, a significant socio-economic divider.

The MSc in Urban Housing & Land Justice is closely connected to many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 15 (Life on Land), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) in the following ways:

SDG 1: No Poverty

Goal 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. Participants of the course learn about how equitable access to land, secure tenure, and adequate housing contribute to the decline and eventual eradication of poverty. Families, communities, and vulnerable groups are socially and economically empowered and secure when they have access to land and housing and freedom from the fear of eviction from their lands and homes.

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SDG 2: Zero Hunger

Goal 2 is about creating a world free of hunger by 2030. Students will focus on land and housing governance to promote food security by improving food production, access, and utility. Secure land rights enhance sustainable land use practises and access to adequate housing, strengthening agro investment and food production and supply.

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SDG 5: Gender Equality

Goal 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The course has a strong focus on gender justice and rights in land and housing as these topics are interrelated. Students will work on developing a gender-responsive resettlement action plan. Secure land rights and tenure have improved women's access to decent housing and enabled their economic empowerment and independence.

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SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Goal 10 is about reducing inequality that threatens long-term social and economic development, harms poverty reduction and destroys people’s sense of fulfilment and self-worth. The Master track highlights the 5A's of affordable housing that, coupled with secure land rights for the poor and other vulnerable groups, have reduced systemic equality and empowered marginalised groups.

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SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 11 is about making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Housing and secure land rights are significant factors in achieving SDG 11 as sustainable cities and communities cannot be achieved if communities do not have secure land tenure, adequate housing, which are fundamental human rights, and safe and easy access to urban services, such as infrastructure, social amenities and public space.

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SDG 13: Climate Action

Goal 13 aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. This programme is built around effective land and housing governance that supports climate adaptation, mitigation, and resilience efforts. To achieve sustainability goals, land and housing governance on-ground approaches need to work hand in hand with climate actions to combat climate change and its impact.

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SDG 15: Life on Land

Goal 15 is concerned with preserving, conserving, and restoring the ecosystem under pressure from poor land management. Poor land and housing management has led to land degradation, overuse of resources and increased pollution. The course works towards ensuring that land and housing management can aid in the protection of the earth.

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SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Goal 16 is about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Increasing land conflicts, housing conflicts, forced evictions, and displacement impact peace and justice for all. Focusing on good land and housing governance systems and institutions, the course safeguards peace, justice, and equity.

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SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Goal 17 is about revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. The cooperative nature of the course and real-life assignments help build collaboration between governments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations to promote equitable and sustainable land use, affordable housing initiatives, and innovation in land and housing governance strategies.

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