Top universities promoting urban sustainability in 2024

University Impact Rankings for UN SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Times Higher Education has recognised 1,026 universities from 99 countries/regions for their significant contributions to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities. These institutions excel in integrating sustainability into urban development, enhancing access to basic services, and improving the quality of public spaces and the take-up of public transport. Through targeted research and practical initiatives, they address the environmental impacts of cities and work towards building resilient urban environments.

These leading universities are not only hubs of innovation for sustainable urban planning but also advocate for universal access to affordable housing and sustainable practices. Their efforts are crucial in shaping the development of cities and communities that are inclusive, safe and sustainable for all.

Summary of findings

The table for SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities is led by the University of Manchester in the UK. Arizona State University (Tempe) and Simon Fraser University in Canada take the second and third spots respectively.

Turkey has the most institutions in this table (60) and achieves an average score of 44.4.


Our methodology for SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities includes detailed indicators that measure universities’ contributions to urban sustainability and community support:

Research on sustainable cities and communities (27%)

  • Number of studies focusing on reducing the environmental impact of cities, enhancing the resilience of communities to disasters and improving urban infrastructure such as public transport systems and public spaces
  • Proportion of urban sustainability papers in top journals
  • Field-weighted citation impact of urban sustainability papers

Support of arts and heritage (22.6%)

  • Initiatives to preserve cultural heritage and promote the arts within the community
  • Programmes that engage the public in cultural activities and heritage conservation

Expenditure on arts and heritage (15.3%)

  • Financial investment in arts and heritage projects

Sustainable practices (35.1%)

  • Implementation of campus-wide sustainable practices that contribute to environmental conservation and energy efficiency
  • Collaboration with local authorities to address planning issues, such as ensuring that local residents can access affordable housing

The Impact Rankings are inherently dynamic: they are growing rapidly each year as many more universities seek to demonstrate their commitment to delivering the SDGs by joining our database; and they allow institutions to demonstrate rapid improvement year-on-year, by introducing clear new policies, for example, or by providing clearer and more open evidence of their progress. Therefore, we expect and welcome regular change in the ranked order of institutions (and we discourage year-on-year comparisons) as universities continue to drive this urgent agenda.

View the overall Impact Rankings 2024

Read our analysis of the Impact Rankings 2024 results

Download a free copy of the Impact Rankings 2024 digital report

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Explore Impact Rankings for individual SDGs

rank order Rank Name Sustainable cities and communities Node ID