5 October 2015
The United Nations' (UN) World Habitat Day is annually celebrated on the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of human settlements and people's right to sufficient shelter. It also aims to remind people that they are responsible for the habitat of future next generations.
Each year, World Habitat Day takes on a new theme chosen by the United Nations based on current issues relevant to the Habitat Agenda. The themes are selected to bring attention to UN-Habitat’s mandate to promote sustainable development policies that ensure adequate shelter for all. These themes often promote a one of UN-Habitat’s focal areas, such as: inclusive housing and social services; a safe and healthy living environment for all — with particular consideration for children, youth, women, elderly and disabled; affordable and sustainable transport and energy; promotion, protection, and restoration of green urban spaces; safe and clean drinking water and sanitation; healthy air quality; job creation; improved urban planning and slum upgrading; and better waste management.
The theme for 2015 is Public Spaces for All. The proposed Sustainable Development Goals highlight Public Spaces as a key and important topic. “Sustainable Development Goals, (Proposed Goal 11 Target 7 – By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities).”
It is in this regard that UN-Habitat together with the main partner for World Habitat Day 2015, UN Women, are honoured to celebrate and launch this theme during Urban October 2015.
Partners in cities around the world will hold activities and events to celebrate World Habitat Day 2015 and the theme Public Space for All, such as:
The Italian National Institute of Planning (INU), an associate Partner of the World Urban Campaign and founder of the Biennial of Public Space, has partnered with the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to celebrate the 2015 World Habitat Day. This year, the traditional event format has been replaced by an internet-based conversation (“Puente Espacio Publico”) between Italian public-space actors and representative cities from Latin America, a region that has distinguished itself for its focus on public space, citizen participation and local action and networking. The main goal of “Puente Espacio Publico” is to create new bridges between Latin American and Italian cities and institutions by exchanging information on on-going public-space initiatives, thus opening the way to new partnerships in view of the Habitat III UN Conference, to be held in 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.
The Global Observance of World Habitat Day this year will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday, 5 October. The event format will be a high-level discussion covering key developments in the area of public space design. This event is organized by UN-Habitat, the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, the American Institute of Architects New York, UN Women, the Institute of Global Homelessness, the United Cities and Local Governments and the Permanent Mission of Grenada to the United Nations. The event will comprise of three main panel discussions. Among the invited guests, panelists and moderators include the Executive Director of UN-Habitat Dr. Joan Clos, the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women Ms. Lakshmi Puri, the Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations Mr. Antonio Patriota, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mr. Orhan Pamuk among others. This event is an outcome of a partnership with UN Women’s global initiative, the HeForShe campaign. This partnership aims at examining and promoting the role of men and women alike in the active creation public spaces for all.