October 1 is World Habitat Day. The United Nations designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The Day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”. Nairobi was the host city for the observance that year. Other previous themes have included: “Shelter for the Homeless” (1987, New York); “Shelter and Urbanization” (1990, London); “Future Cities” (1997, Bonn); “Safer Cities” (1998, Dubai); “Women in Urban Governance” (2000, Jamaica); “Cities without Slums” (2001, Fukuoka), “Water and Sanitation for Cities” (2003, Rio de Janeiro), “Planning our Urban Future” (2009, Washington, D.C.), “Better City, Better Life” (2010, Shanghai, China) and Cities and Climate Change (2011, Aguascalientes, Mexico).
Each year, World Habitat Day takes on a new theme to promote sustainable development policies that ensure adequate shelter for all. These themes often promote 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, Better waste management