With the launch of the first ever World Cities Day on October 31, 2014, The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has designated the month of October as Urban October.
This is coming on the heels of two important milestones on the urban calendar, which coincide in the same month. On the first Monday of the month, October 6, the world will be commemorating this year’s edition of the yearly World Habitat Day. Uniquely, this year’s event will be followed by the celebration of the pioneer World Cities Day on the last day of the month, October 31. The series of celebrations, events and activities taking place in this context are all grouped together under the umbrella of Urban October.
Urban October, through the several initiatives on advocacy, outreach and communications that UN-Habitat promotes and convenes that month, will therefore present a unique platform for governments and partners to organise and promote actions and activities on sustainable urban development. Urban October is a month for raising interest on urban challenges and opportunities to the media and communications networks. It is the month for stimulating debates and moving forward commitments.
The theme for World Habitat Day (WHD) 2014 on Monday, 6 October 2014, is ‘Voices from Slums’. World Habitat Day 2014 campaigns to recognise life in slums and gives voices to slum dwellers for improving quality of living conditions in existing slums, as well as highlights the efforts done with the MDGs process. Governments, NGOs, private sector, academic and other institutions are encouraged to place current and past slum dwellers as protagonists of World Habitat Day 2014. Webstories, videos, photos, interviews and other stories will feed the campaign’s contents on social media, websites, media and other supports.
Urban Thinkers Campus will take place from 15 to 18 October 2014 in Caserta, Italy. The Campus is built on the outcomes of the deliberations of the Sixth and Seventh session of the World Urban Forum organised by UN-Habitat in Naples, Italy in 2012 and in Medellin, Colombia in April 2014. One month after the first Preparatory Committee for the Habitat III Conference, the Campus aims to gather urban thinkers and stakeholders to debate ‘The City We Need’, initiated by the World Urban Campaign.
World Cities Day (WCD) 2014, which will be commemorated on Friday, 31 October 2014, will be celebrated under the theme ‘Leading Urban Transformations’. WCD is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and challenges in urbanization and contribute to urban sustainable development around the world. The city of Shanghai, China will host the main celebration of World Cities Day while there will be local events worldwide.