Homes build lives and strengthen the future, precisely the sentiment World Habitat Day celebrates. Held on the first Monday of October each year, on October 4 this year, this day aims to spread knowledge of the fundamental right to shelter and remind people that they are also responsible for the habitat of future generations.
History of world Habitat day
Urbanization can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Two cities flourished in this period, Uruk and Ur, which were situated close to the banks of the Euphrates River at the time. Historians also credit the rise of urban areas to river valley civilizations in Egypt, India, and China. These places initially depended on agriculture and domestic cattle but soon expanded into trading centres and merchant hubs.
Data records that urbanization spread from ancient Mesopotamia to Egypt and, from there, to ancient Greece. While the Mesopotamian cities eventually faded out — we can only guess the causes like overcrowding, overutilization of natural resources, etc. — subsequent ancient civilizations took care to prevent the less desirable consequences of urbanization, especially in Egypt.
The growth of urban areas accelerated to a great extent around 200 years ago as people went in search of jobs, which were, of course, mostly in cities where factories were located. Over the past 50 years, urbanization has seen rapid growth. Many people live in urban areas around the globe, and much of this urbanization occurs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Today, countries worldwide see the same pattern; people flock to urban areas in search of different livelihoods and more prosperous living standards. Cities are constantly growing and adapting as economic centres, but sometimes, a lack of planning and adequate resources causes significant problems. In such settings, fair housing is not a certainty for many urban residents.
To address this problem, in 1985, the United Nations created and passed a resolution to celebrate World Habitat Day each year on the first Monday in October. Multiple countries celebrate this day, partnering with global and national organizations to examine how urbanization affects human habitats and how this impacts the environment. Four years later, the United Nations agency for Urban Development, called the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (U.N.-Habitat), launched a special award for initiatives that have made outstanding contributions to building human habitats and improving the quality of human life. This award — a plaque engraved with the winner’s name and achievement- is presented during the Global Observance of World Habitat Day.
How to observe world habitat day
- Raise awareness
- Grab all the resources you can get from the U.N. website or partner websites that celebrate this event, share the literature, or tell another person about this day and its significance. The more people realize World Habitat Day’s importance, the stronger the impact we can have.
- Support local housing initiatives
- Check-in with community leaders, local charities, and organizations focusing on better housing. Ask how you can help, and donate your time and expertise to the cause.
- Volunteer in habitat-building initiatives
- Local or global habitat-building initiatives are constantly in motion. Lend your hand and other talents to the cause. Help give a family a new home and a better life.
5 fun facts about world habitat day
- The first celebration
- It took place in Nairobi, Kenya, and the theme was “Shelter is My Right.”
- A new year, a new theme
- The United Nations selects a new piece for World Habitat Day each year based on ongoing habitat-related issues — previous articles include “Shelter for the Homeless (1987),””Future Cities (1997),””Women in Urban Governance (2000),” and “Cities and Climate Change (2011).”
- 55% of the world lives in cities
- More than half of the world’s seven billion people call towns and other urban areas home.
- Meeting the rising demand
- As per global estimates, more than 96,000 thousand housing units will need to be built each year to meet the increasing demand.
- Estimates for 2050
- According to the present trend, urban areas will see an additional three billion people influx by 2050.
Why world habitat day is important
- Building homes builds lives
- A decent place to live can eliminate barriers to success and opportunities that might not have existed for a family long term.
- The right to shelter
- This day communicates the all-important message that everyone across the globe deserves to live in a good house.
- Sustainable living is also a focus
- Not only is the world focusing on building shelters, but they are also investigating the environmental impact current urbanization has on future housing. With every initiative, we are trying to make the world a better place for future citizens.