October 5: World Habitat Day

Let’s stand up on World Habitat Day and let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere—in our communities, in our towns, in our country, in our world.

World Habitat Day

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of each October as World Habitat Day. This year, Habitat for Humanity in USA has invited the international community from around the world in support of this global observance and come together to declare that the lack of decent, affordable housing is unacceptable.

According to the United Nations, more than 100 million people in the world today are homeless. Millions more face a severe housing problem living without adequate sanitation, with irregular or no electricity supply and without adequate security. Raising awareness and advocating for change are the first steps toward transforming systems that perpetuate the global plague of poverty housing. World Habitat Day serves as an important reminder that everyone must unite to ensure that everyone has a safe, decent place to call home.

The U.N. further states that both developed and developing countries, cities and towns are increasingly feeling the effects of climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity, population growth and economic instability. Rapid rates of urbanization cause serious negative consequences – overcrowding, poverty, slums with many poorly equipped to meet the service demands of ever growing urban populations.

Housing in Delhi

Master Plan Delhi

Back home in India, in the Nation’s national capital, the situation is no better. Lakhs of people are forced to live in slums and squatters in different parts of the city. There are no real regulations on land price, available housing infrastructure is inadequate and the number of houses constructed are well below what the Master Plan for Delhi envisioned.

Sewerage is lacking in many colonies. Water – a basic necessity – has to be fought and obtained in several parts. Add to that, the policies and practices by the civic authorities which are upper and middle class centric and as if to drive out the ‘poor’ after making sure they no longer afford to live here.

Slums are declared to be the reason for all the pollution in the city (and the Yamuna river) and are relocated to colonies like Bawana – which have neither a livelihood source nor any basic resources needed to survive.

What you can do on World Habitat Day?

  • Inquire: Find out where your maid stays in the city? What is the condition of her house? Is she satisfied with her dwelling?
  • Read: Search the Internet on housing in delhi and try to understand and analyze the situation. You will be very interested to know what is planned to be used to hide the slums during the Commonwealth
  • Visit: Make a trip to a slum near to your house. Try walking through it with an open mind letting thoughts flow as questions. Yes, maybe many of those you see should not be here, but they, like anyone else, have a right to better living. Did the city give the opportunity to ensure that?
  • Write: Share your experience with other, write to the newspaper editor, move your local authorities, or…leave a comment here about what you think

This World Habitat Day, lets think of how we can make inclusive cities and planning more equitable.

With inputs from Govind Singh

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3 thoughts on “October 5: World Habitat Day

  1. Hi,

    My honest opinion about this subject is that we need to control population before we can think of betetr housing. How can a limited piece of land, be a home to the ever growing population. we all do identify the problems but do not realize that the root cause is the growing population. it just keeps increasign each year. so if for e.g. 100 people are born in year 1, 120 people are born in year 2. its not like the figure of 100 stays static. every year the amount of new borns also keep increasing. we must do campaigns to slow down the population in order to raise the stantard of living for all of us here.
    otherwise things like climate change, global warming, lack of clean water, proper housing etc will just keep increasign and we’ll eventually run out of solution. the human race must be controlled

    yours truly
    neetika jain

  2. Hi.. U have a map of the Delhi master plan on the article. However cynical we may be today, there are provisions being built into various masterplans. What is missing is the political will.

    Having said that, I heard a lot of positive voices today at the seminar organized by the Ministry.

    As an organization, we are doing reasonable work in this direction, and I would only be happy to share our insights with you.

    regards,
    Ramesh Menon

  3. @Neetika Jain: Of course the pressure of population is a major issue, but as you may be aware, previous attempts (at least the major one) at the same in the country, led to the crushing of political careers! Achieving this is a much required yet a difficult task.

    At the same time, for the city of Delhi and the country as a whole…the issue at present is not so much population as it the density of population….i.e. to say the policies we are putting in place…which are concentrating a lot of people in certain urban centers. Aping the western model of development, which this is a part of….will only lead to further misery.

    @Ramesh Menon: Indeed, better provisions in the Master Plan..which are also implemented with a the right political will…is but the only way forward. I am glad to read that you are seeing it come. Would indeed be great to learn more on that.

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