World Habitat Day 2008 was held on 6 October 2008, under the theme – Harmonious Cities. The United Nations chose the theme of Harmonious Cities for 2008 to raise awareness about the problems of rapid urbanization, its impact on the environment, the growth of slums, and the urbanisation of poverty as more and more people teem into towns and cities looking for a better life.

The main celebration was held in Luanda, Angola.

For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2008 website.

Messages from the UN Secretary General and the Executive Director
Ban Ki-moon

Many of the world’s most pressing challenges – poverty, natural disasters, escalating prices for food and fuel – have important links with rapid urbanization.

Urbanization changes forever the way we use land, water and energy. Done well, it can bring people choices and help them thrive. Done poorly, it reduces safety, despoils the environment and exacerbates the marginalization of those who are already suffering and excluded.

Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka

Today we mark World Habitat Day at a time the majority of the world’s people are living in towns and cities. And the process is accelerating. This transformation has a direct bearing on the strategies we must adopt to attain the Millennium Development Goals.

The other historic turning point is that the number of urban slum dwellers around the world is moving above the 1 billion mark, making it clear that the urbanisation of poverty is arguably one of the biggest development challenges.