World Habitat Day 2012 was held on 1 October 2012, under the theme – Changing Cities, Building Opportunities. The main celebration was hosted by Embu Town in Kenya.

The United Nations chose the theme Changing Cities, Building Opportunities because cities are the engines of growth. It is in the cities that many realise their dreams of a better life. Even if this is not achieved, still many more leave the rural areas and flock to the cities for no other reason than the promise of a better future and prosperity. This they achieve by either getting jobs or by starting businesses which at one point not only provide for the owners but even other employees thus creating jobs.

Under this theme, UN-Habitat aimed to underscore the need to plan our cities better because as has also been stated, unplanned growth of cities lead to chaotic development and urban sprawl. When well planned, cities can continue to afford opportunities to both the current and future residents. The theme dovetails with the new UN-Habitat campaign, I am a city changer which seeks to involve all in making their cities a better place to live.

For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2012 website.

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

Half the world’s people now live in towns and cities. In little more than a generation, two-thirds of the global population will be urban. As the proportion of humanity living in the urban environment grows, so too does the need to strengthen the urban focus of our efforts to reduce global poverty and promote sustainable development.

From necessity springs opportunity. Better planned and better functioning cities can help guide us to the future we want: cities where everyone has adequate shelter, water, sanitation, health and other basic services; cities with good education and job prospects; cities with energy-efficient buildings and public transport systems; cities where all feel they belong.

Dr. Joan Clos

We selected the theme, Changing cities, building opportunities, for World Habitat Day this year because our quest to improve cities and provide better services and opportunities for the world’s growing urban populations is more urgent than ever.

In little over a generation from now, our projections show that two-thirds of the global population will be living in towns and cities – up from 50 per cent today in the fastest urbanisation ever experienced in history.

Activities
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