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Affordable and sustainable cities bring UK and Kenyan researchers together


Affordable and sustainable cities bring UK and Kenyan researchers together

Everyone understands the importance of having a place to call ‘home’, but with people around the world moving into cities at an unprecedented rate, this is getting harder to achieve. By 2050, nearly half of the population of Kenya will be living in cities. New research and innovations are vital to make affordable, sustainable and healthy housing a global reality for the future.

Taking a joined-up, international approach, the UK and Kenya governments are co-hosting a two-day symposium on affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure on 21 and 22 May in Nairobi, supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR).

Speaking about the Symposium, Principal Secretary Ministry of Education Alfred Cheruiyot for Kenya, said: "Research, science, technology and innovation presents a unique platform for the generation of new knowledge to overcome barriers to affordable housing, healthy cities, resilience and affordable urban infrastructure. Affordable housing is recognised as an enabler to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UK-Kenya Partnership is a powerful tool for application in the enhancement of their attainment”.

The symposium is bringing together more than 200 policymakers, leading researchers, business and civil society delegates to explore the potential for new collaborations to deliver innovations in housing and urban development – from changing how people apply for mortgages, to using technology to turn plastic waste into pavements.

Welcoming the Symposium, Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin said: “Affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure are challenges everywhere, so it is good news that the UK and Kenya are working together to turn world-leading research and innovation into practical solutions to benefit us all.”

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI Executive Champion for International, said: “Urban living is increasing as people flock to cities in search of work, but instead many end up marginalised and poverty stricken living in inadequate, unhealthy housing with no sanitation, poor air quality and limited access to basic services. Taking a proactive approach to planning is vital if we are going to address these issues and develop cities in the future which safeguard the environment as well as improve the lives of those living in them. The growth of cities and the management of them affects every country in the world. This Symposium, and the Global Challenges Research Fund more broadly, highlights the exciting opportunity we have to think collectively and holistically about our urban spaces.”

A joint statement from the UK and Kenyan Government following the symposium announced a commitment to continue working together on affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure research, policy and practice in Kenya.

Dr Jaideep Gupte, GCRF Challenge Leader for cities and sustainable infrastructure, speaking about the event.

Further information

Read more about GCRF.

The UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) is a group of government departments and research funders working in international development. Read more on the UKCDR website.

The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. They include no poverty, quality education, sustainable cities and communities and industry, innovation and infrastructure.

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