|Urban Mobility: UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos with the Mayor of Medellin Mr. Anibal Gaviria take public transport in sync with the theme of this year's World Habitat Day. Photo Copyright Rosa Surinach/UN-Habitat |
The city of Medellin in Colombiawas the host of the main celebrations marking this year’s World Habitat Day.
Other festivities were held with a wide range of events and activities on the theme “Urban Mobility” held in Medellin, London, Singapore, Nairobi and many other cities, towns and assorted venues across the globe.
In Colombia, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, presented the Global Report on Human Settlements 2013 – Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility. Dr. Clos highlighted the importance of integrated land-use and transport planning. “To reach a proper urban mobility system it is needed to plan mixed-use cities, in which the land integrates housing, business and services”, he said. In addition, he called for improved accessibility to urban transportation to gain access to destinations, activities, and goods.
The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
The Medellin celebrations took place as part of the city’s Week of Mobility, organized by the Municipality and the V International Forum of Mobility in which UN-Habitat is participating. The Mayor of Medellin, Mr. AnibalGaviria, stressed that Medellin is an example of commitment to massive public transport as part of the social transformation of the city.
The celebration finalized with a tour around the city by the integrated public transportation system, which gathers a local network of metro, bus, bike-sharing, cable car, and soon tramcar. The Executive Director of UN-Habitat also visited social projects in the neighborhood of Moravia, an informal settlement of the city in process of transformation because of urban planning interventions and the creation of cultural and education centers to revitalize the community.
Meanwhile, at a ceremony in Mumbai, the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation and UN-Habitat launched a report on the State of the Urban Youth in India while in New York, UN-Habitat co-hosted a side-event together with the Brazilian National Secretariat, and with support from the UN Permanent Mission of Brazil.
Afghanistan too joined in the celebrations with a panel discussion in Kabul tackling the emerging urban issues – making cities and communities resilient to the natural and human-made disasters and conflicts, accompanied by a series of events that took place during World Habitat Day.
The London launch event took place in a temporary 'station' built as part of an exhibition to commemorate the 150 year anniversary of the London Underground at the Crystal which opened to the public on 8 October.
In Cape Verde A conference was organized Monday on Urban mobility to the attention of urban planners and civil society at the University of Cape Verde. It was very well appreciated by the participants and a moment to advocate for the National Program PNDUCC and discuss the urban mobility in Praia. The Resident coordinator Ulrika Richardson Golinski presented her speech based on the Executive Director's message in the opening session chaired by the Minister of Housing Antero Veiga. The closing session was made by by UN-Habitat Coordinator Janice da Silva and the Director of Urban Planning Jeiza Lucena.
In Australia, The University of Queensland’s School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management organised a photo competition which saw Daniel Tealby, a final year student, scooping the first prize with his piece titled “Bridging the Divide”. read more
Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa led the national World Habitat Day Celebrations at a ceremony held at the Soysapura Housing Scheme grounds in Moratuwa. The event, which drew the participation of thousands from the busy suburb of Colombo, marked the launch of a stamp commemorating the day.