Cities Programme

A wide ranging programme of work, encompassing multiple projects, designed to catalyse productive partnerships between UKGBC members and cities to drive forward the delivery of sustainable places.
Cities Programme


September 21, 2017


Policy & Advocacy



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Cities are where health, wealth and quality of life inequalities are most keenly felt. They are on the frontline of climate impacts, they are where we generate most waste and consume most resources. The buildings and infrastructure of our cities can contribute to these problems or they can provide solutions.

The Cities Programme was first launched in early 2017 following the UKGBC Sustainable Cities Leadership Summit. It brings together diverse but linked activities, all designed to support a single purpose: to unleash productive new partnerships between city policy makers and progressive businesses in the built environment sector which catalyse the delivery of genuinely sustainable places.

The Programme was established as a multi-year initiative, and is now in its second year.

Cities Programme cross-cutting objectives:

  • Develop policy & market solutions at the community/city scale
  • Advocate, communicate & build relationships
  • Embed solutions & nurture partnerships
  • Monitor progress & recognise leadership

Cities Programme – key workstreams and projects

Driving sustainability in new homes

In March 2018 UKGBC launched a new set of resources, primarily targeted at local authorities, which included a policy ‘playbook’ for driving sustainability in new homes. This was published in association with Core Cities UK and with the support of numerous other organisations. This continues to be a major workstream, as we disseminate the work, advocate to local authorities and plan further iterations.

Measuring social value

Also in March 2018, following a task group on the topic, we produced a new report on Social Value in New Development, which provided guidance for industry and local government. We are taking forward this work through various related projects, including a new training offering for key audiences.

In March 2019, we produced a guidance document: Driving social value in new development: Options for local authorities ,that is intended to help local authorities create and implement a strategy that enables new development to deliver greater social value, thereby improving the impact of new development on communities and the wider area or city.

Retrofit-led regeneration

In late 2017 we reported on the use of retrofit as a catalyst for regenerating low income areas. We continue to work with local authorities and other stakeholders to embed some of the principles and recommendations contained within this work. We are also working partners in Leeds to establish a consortium to pilot the key finance and delivery innovations.

Mayoral roundtables 

We are engaging a number of combined authorities to support and inform their policy making, and have delivered private roundtables with the mayors of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and Greater Manchester in recent months.

The Cities Programme builds on our experience working with specific cities, including:

  • Birmingham Summit:A partnership with Birmingham City Council saw us take a process of ‘breakthrough innovation’ to the city, working with stakeholders to tackle some of the city’s key built environment challenges and co-create solutions.
  • Manchester Summit: UKGBC’s inaugural City Summit was a collaborative policy-making and education exercise with Manchester City Council, designed to inform the city’s long term city strategy.

The Cities Programme relates to, but is distinct from our ‘local networks’, which have been launched in Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester to engage members locally in a whole range of UKGBC work including policy, research and education. More information on the local networks can be found here.

With thanks to our Cities Programme partners

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