In 1985 the United Nations designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day (Resolution 40/202 of 17 December 1985). The idea 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 of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”. Nairobi was the host city for the observance that year. Other previous themes have included: “Shelter for the Homeless” (1987, New York); “Shelter and Urbanization” (1990, London); “Future Cities” (1997, Bonn); “Safer Cities” (1998, Dubai); “Women in Urban Governance” (2000, Jamaica); “Cities without Slums” (2001, Fukuoka), “Water and Sanitation for Cities” (2003, Rio de Janeiro), "Planning our Urban Future" (2009, Washington, D.C.), "Better City, Better Life" (2010, Shanghai, China) and Cities and Climate Change (2011, Aguascalientes, Mexico)... In 2015 year, the United Nations chose the theme "Public Spaces for All".
The Habitat Scroll of Honour award was launched by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in 1989. It is currently the most prestigious human settlements award in the world. Its aim is to acknowledge initiatives which have made outstanding contributions in various fields such as shelter provision, highlighting the plight of the homeless, leadership in post conflict reconstruction, and developing and improving the human settlements and the quality of urban life. The award, a plaque engraved with the name of the winner and their achievement is presented to the winners during the Global Observance of World Habitat Day.
In 2023 World Habitat Day in USA falls on October 2.