"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."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message on World Habitat Day, 2012
Traffic in Hanoi, Viet Nam. City planning can optimize the use of land and design of the urban environment, including transportation networks, to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities. UN Photo/Kibae Park
Theme for 2012: Changing Cities, Building Opportunities
In Resolution 40/202 of 17 December 1985, the UN General Assembly designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day. In 2012, World Habitat Day is commemorated on 1 October.
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 leave the rural areas and flock to the cities for no other reason than the promise of a better future and prosperity. This they pursue by either getting jobs or by starting businesses, which not only provide income for the owners, but also for their employees.
Under this theme, UN-Habitat wants to underscore the need to plan our cities better because the unplanned growth of cities leads to chaotic development and urban sprawl. When well planned, cities can continue to afford opportunities to both the current and future residents. This 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.