More About World Habitat Day 🌎🏡
Urbanization can be traced way back to ancient Mesopotamia (now called Iraq). Two cities flourished in this period, Uruk and Ur, which were situated close to the banks of the Euphrates River at the time. Historians also credit the rise of urban areas to such river valley civilizations in places like Egypt, India, and China. These places initially depended on agriculture and domestic cattle but soon expanded into trading centers and merchant hubs. Data records that urbanization spread from ancient Mesopotamia to Egypt and, from there, to ancient Greece. While the Mesopotamian cities eventually faded out — we can only guess the causes like overcrowding, overutilization of natural resources, etc. — subsequent ancient civilizations took care to prevent the less desirable consequences of urbanization, especially in Egypt. The growth of urban areas accelerated to a great extent around 200 years ago as people went in search of jobs, which were, of course, mostly in cities where factories were located. Over the past 50 years, urbanization has seen rapid growth. A huge amount of people live in urban areas around the globe, and much of this urbanization is taking place in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Today, countries around the world see the same pattern; people flocking to urban areas in search of different livelihoods and more prosperous living standards. Functioning as economic centers, cities are constantly growing and adapting but, sometimes, lack of planning and adequate resources causes major problems. In such settings, adequate housing is not a certainty for many urban residents. To address this problem, in 1985, the United Nations created and passed a resolution to celebrate World Habitat Day each year on the first Monday in October. Multiple countries celebrate this day, partnering with global and national organizations to examine how urbanization affects human habitats and how this impacts the environment as well. Four years later, the United Nations agency for Urban Development, called the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (U.N.-Habitat), launched a special award for initiatives that have made outstanding contributions in building human habitats and improving the quality of human life. This award — which is a plaque engraved with the winner’s name and their achievement, is presented during the Global Observance of World Habitat Day.