Given the growth of cities as a result of the continued rise in population, and its effect on the environment, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided, in 1985, to make the first Monday in October of every year, World Habitat Day. The purpose is to build awareness in communities, organizations and governments, of the serious housing issues facing our world today, and the need to improve short, medium and long term planning in order to improve living conditions for the more vulnerable.
In our World today, 1,6 billion people live in inadequate conditions. 9 million of these live in Argentina. Agustín Salvia, director of the Social Debt Observatory of the Catholic University of Argentina, wrote “until we approach the housing issue holistically, with development policies that contemplate all sectors of society, and until we address regional and social inequalities, we may be able to reduce part of the deficit, but the gaps and the structural divide will not be diminished”. It is clear that the housing situation is critical not only in Argentina but around the world, and warrants our immediate attention and action.
On October 3rd, Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina will join the United Nations and other organizations around the World to build awareness, educate and mobilize people and communities to take action to reduce the housing deficit and provide opportunities for adequate housing for everybody.
Cities and Climate Change
This year, the United Nations is focussing on the effects of Climate Change on cities. Supporting this theme, Habitat para la Humanidad Argentina would like to point out the consequences of urbanization on the adverse effects of climatic events. As hydrometereological events increase, so does population density in cities with inadequate infrastructure causing housing disasters. Sustainable regional planning is needed, focusing on the importance of green spaces, promoting “green” buildings, and the infrastructure necessary to mitigate the risks.
Joan Clos, executive director of UN-HABITAT explains that “the impact of climate difficulties will be particularly severe on coastal areas where the largest cities in the world are located. And it is always the urban poor, especially those living in slums that are most vulnerable to disaster. We must emphasize the need for appropriate measures of adaptability based on urban planning”. Social, economic, political actors at local, regional and world levels must come together to develop these strategies.
Hábitat para la Humanidad Argentina is working to provide those in most need with adequate housing. Our projects include innovative urban solutions for the cities’ most vulnerable (Rebuilding Urban Homes Project in the city of Buenos Aires), as well as seeking to assist those living in a context of severe poverty in forgotten areas around the country (Disaster Response Project working with populations affected by volcano ash in Patagonia). On this particular day, we invite you all to put your faith in action and becoming part of the solution to the housing crisis in our own country… both by providing opportunities to those living in a context of poverty and by demanding that our governments develop regional planning to mitigate the effects of adverse climatic events.