A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Sunday, 4 October 2015

World Habitat Day 2015, October 5.

World Habitat Day, October 5.
 Día Mundial del Hábitat, 5 de Octubre.
 Всемирный день Хабитат, 5 октября.
 Journée mondiale de l'habitat, le 5 Octobre.
 اليوم العالمي للموئل، 5 أكتوبر

 Theme 2015 : Public Spaces for all .
 موضوع عام 2015: الأماكن العامة لجميع
 Тема 2015: Общественные места для всех.
 Thème 2015 : Espaces publics pour tous.
 Tema 2015: los espacios públicos para todos.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on World Habitat Day 2015.

Safe, Easy Access to Public Spaces for Poor Citizens Vital to Achieving Equality, Ending Discrimination, Secretary-General Says in Message on World Habitat Day

Each year on World Habitat Day, we reflect on the state of human settlements and on what we want the cities of the future to look like.
This year’s observance follows the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — an inspiring new framework that will guide our efforts to end poverty and ensure prosperity for all on a healthy planet.
The new Sustainable Development Goals — which include SDG 11 to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” — represent a broad international consensus that recognizes sustainable urban development as a transformational approach.  As part of an integrated agenda, cities and human settlements have an important role to play across the entire spectrum of the 2030 Agenda.
The theme of World Habitat Day 2015 is “Public Spaces for All”.  Frequently overlooked and undervalued, public spaces are increasingly being recognized as the vibrant, beating hearts of the world’s towns and cities, which are today home to half of humanity.
Public spaces are crucial for poor and vulnerable citizens.  Improving access to them and making them safe for women and girls increases equity, promotes inclusion and combats discrimination.  High-quality public spaces encourage people to communicate and collaborate with each other, and to participate in public life.  Public spaces can also provide basic services, enhance connectivity, spawn economic activity and raise property values while generating municipal revenue.  But successful public spaces do not just happen; they require careful collaboration among local authorities, local inhabitants and other actors.
The Habitat III Conference, to be held in Quito in October 2016, offers an opportunity to point the way towards solutions to the challenges of rapid urbanization.
I look forward to working with all partners to make Habitat III a success — and to enable people everywhere to enjoy public spaces where we are equal, where our cultures and histories are reflected, and where we can shape a future that is safe and sustainable for all.

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations.

The Urban Law Database

  Message of the UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos on World Habitat Day 2015.

Public Spaces for all

This year we start the Urban October celebrating the World Habitat Day and reflecting on Public Spaces for All. We do it in a  partnership between UN-Habitat and the HeforShe initiative promoted by UN-Women. It aims to engage men and boys, one half  of humanity, in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent the other half of humanity from achieving their potential. This  partnership examines and promotes the role for men and women alike in the creation of gender-equal public spaces for all. 
Good  public spaces enhance community cohesion and promote health, happiness, and well-being for all citizens as well as fostering  investment, economic development and environmental sustainability. The character of a city is defined by its streets and public spaces. From squares and boulevards to neighbourhood gardens and  children playgrounds, public space frames city image. The connective matrix of streets and public spaces forms the skeleton of the  city upon which all else rests. Public space is a vital component of a prosperous city. Well designed and managed public space is a  key asset for a city’s functioning and has a positive impact on its economy, environment, safety, health, integration and connectivity. 
The quality of life for people in cities is directly related to the state of its public spaces. Public space provides room for social and cultural interaction and can foster a sense of belonging and pride in an area. A public  space that is open to all, regardless of ethnic origin, age or gender, provides a democratic forum for citizens and society. Public space  can bring communities together, provide meeting places and foster social ties. These spaces shape the cultural identity of an area,  are part of its unique character and provide a sense of place for local communities. Sharing common spaces is the soul of the city. Where public space is inadequate, poorly designed, or privatized, the city becomes increas¬ingly segregated. The result can be a  polarized city where social tensions are likely to flare up and where crime and violence rises.
A mixed and diverse public space (use,  users, design, state, time, etc.) provides a place that is vibrant and busy automatically reducing insecurity. Many cities are developing policies that promote compact, liveable areas, with adequate public space that facilitate public transport,  encourages walking and cycling, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Public space is critical for environmental sustainability. Green  and open public space brings many important environmental benefits such as, the cooling of air and the absorption of atmospheric  pollutants. The significant increase in hard surfacing and the reduction in green spaces lead to higher temperatures in towns and  cities. Vegetation in the public space can help to redress this imbalance.
Although a good city performance is not only about the amount of public space; we see successful urban grids when public space  is in balance with buildable plots. Like in a perfect yin and yang, a city should allocate to open spaces, parks, squares and plazas at  least the same proportion as to private space.  Given the importance of public spaces, it is worrying that provision of public space is limited in many cities, that access to public  space is becoming more and more controlled and that often cities lack comprehensive knowledge of the public space they have and  management mechanisms to enhance its quality, access and benefits.
In addition, tools for creating and protecting public spaces  are not widely applied and accessible to cities across the world, and in particular in developing countries. An enormous local asset  is undervalued and underutilized. We should all ensure that in the framework of the ‘Transforming our World – the 2030 development agenda’, especially SDG 11,  which formulates the ambition to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable – we reflect on the  need to plan and manage public spaces.
The New Urban Agenda to be defined in Habitat III in Quito in 2016 will provide a unique  opportunity to implement the 2030 development framework and deal with the challenges of urbanization in the next two decades.

FORUM : World Habitat Day - October 5

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day. The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on thestate of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It 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 Urban Campaign


HABITAT III   : The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development - Quito, Ecuador. 17-20 October 2016

DESIGN COMPETITION : Highlighting and recognizing designs and designers that will best depict the state of our towns and cities today.

URBAN NIGHTS :An initiative for an outdoor, picnic style screening to: bring people together, promote local talent and utilize open spaces.


World Habitat Day
Streets and public spaces have often been overlooked and undervalued, but are increasingly being considered the backbone of cities.
Publlic spaces are places which are accessible and enjoyable by all without a profit motive and take on various spatial forms, including parks, streets, sidewalks, markets and playgrounds.
In 2011, UN-Habitat adopted resolution on sustainable urban development through access to quality urban public spaces.

Good public spacesenhance community cohesion and promote health, happiness, and well-being for all citizens as well as fostering investment, economic development and environmental sustainability.
Well designed and managed public spaces and streets are a key asset for a city’s livability and economy:
  • Increases property values
  • Multiplies retail activity
  • Enhances safety
  • Fosters social cohesion and equality
  • Improves health and well-being
  • Improves the environment
  • Makes the city more attractive
  • Promotes more effective and efficient transportation and mobility

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.
World Cities Day

How to raise awareness in your city
  • Draw attention to World Habitat Day, and its theme, the challenges and issues around Public Spaces, especially with regard to women, the youth, children, older persons and persons with disabilities.
  •  Raise awareness through mass and social media: press articles, radio and television, newspapers, exhibitions, organize press conferences and broadcast video and audio spots, facebook, twitter, Instagram
  • and YouTube engaging policy makers, government officials, academics, other professional and community representatives.
  • Organize high-level meetings and discussions with national, regional and local governments on the theme towards realization of the proposed Sustainable Development Goal on Cities and Human Settlements (SDG Goal 11, Target 7) and Habitat III.
  • Local authorities and governments may launch a new public space, or establish by-laws or policy to ensure safety in public spaces.
  • Plan an event or activity in existing public spaces in your city. Promote and raise awareness for the need for access to public spaces to all.
  • Organize fund raising, recreation or entertainment activities like sports activities or concerts and use the proceeds to upgrade a common space, a street, a park or a market.
  • Sponsor projects that make public spaces safe and inclusive. These may include; installing security lighting and cameras, donating a sanitation facility, build seating areas, or planting trees and grass in a public space.
  • Participate in the Urban October Design Competition.
  • Organize a themed Urban Nights event.
  • Promote #HabitatDay and HabitatIII on Social Media.
  • Download and share the World Habitat Day campaign kit with your network.
  • Register your planned activity below or submit your photo at

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