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​​UK Built Environment Advisory Group

Launched in 2016, at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) is a collaboration between the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Landscape Institute. Acknowledging the need for integrated approaches to achieve sustainable outcomes, its purpose is to make built-environment expertise more accessible to UK and overseas governments, humanitarian agencies, and development agencies such as the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and UN Habitat.

The UKBEAG brings together the collective skills and expertise of over 100,000 built environment professionals in more than 150 countries around the world to support countries facing a range of issues associated with challenges such as rapid urbanisation and the climate emergency.

With the world’s urban population set to increase by a further 2.5bn by 2050, and with 65% of the 169 targets underlying the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals being linked to territorial and urban development, the need for expert advice on the built environment is acute, especially as there is a critical lack of built environment professionals in many of the countries which are urbanising most rapidly. Through its membership of the Global Alliance for Urban Crises, the UKBEAG is also committed to supporting communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from humanitarian crises in urban settings.

Core Skills

Members of the UKBEAG provide access to a broad range of skills necessary to determine where to build, what to build and how to build, including:

  • town and country planning
  • strategic masterplanning
  • landscape architecture
  • infrastructure design
  • urban design
  • architecture
  • structural engineering
  • community and stakeholder engagement

Core Activities

The following are among the core activities undertaken by members of the group:

  • capacity development for both policymakers and practitioners
  • developing educational and professional standards
  • supporting continuing professional development
  • contributing to policy development at local, national, and international level, eg: planning policy, building code, low carbon development, resilience and adaptation policies etc.
  • drawing upon its membership to identify subject matter experts on a broad range of built environment issues
  • advocacy and dissemination

In addition to the above, the UKBEAG can also leverage its extensive global network to provide specialist, sectoral and/or local expertise whenever and wherever required.

Global Future Cities Transition and Training Dialogue week, September 2018, held at RIBA - 66 Portland Place, London

Case study: Global Future Cities Programme

The UKBEAG has been an active contributor to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s Prosperity Fund Global Future Cities Programme since the programme’s inception in 2017. The aim of this £80m Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded programme is to promote prosperity, sustainable development, and reduce inequality in 19 rapidly urbanising cities in 10 countries in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. The programme comprises a total of 30 interventions organised around three pillars, transportation, urban planning, and resilience.

Working closely in collaboration with UN Habitat in their role as strategic consultants for the programme, the UKBEAG has been appointed to develop and deliver the strategic capacity development component, the aim of which is to engage with some of the broader challenges faced by the cities, helping to better position the programme for success upon completion.

Drawing upon the findings arising from the work undertaken during the early stages of the programme, the strategic capacity development component focuses on the following key thematic areas:

  1. Integrated & Inclusive Planning
  2. Governance & Collaboration
  3. Evidence Based Design & the Effective use of Data
  4. Project Finance & Procurement
  5. Implementation & Enforcement, Monitoring & Enforcement

The methodology associated with the strategic capacity development component has been developed with support from the University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership.

The strategic capacity development component is a continuation of activities that took place during 2018-2019. These lead up to a UKBEAG hosted week of Transition Training and Dialogue programming, held in London in 2018, which brought together senior representatives from each of the cities to engage with a group of subject matter experts and share experiences with one another. Among the subject matter experts who contributed to the London event were: The British Standards Institution, Connected Places Catapult, Design Council, HM Treasury Infrastructure & Projects Authority, the International Growth Centre, the Met Office, Ordnance Survey, Transport for London and the UCL Development Planning Unit.

Global Future Cities Transition and Training Dialogue week, Argent King's Cross Regeneration Project site visit, September 2018

Further information

Contact us here for more information on the UK Built Environment Advisory Group.

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