The theme for World Habitat Day 2015 is Public Spaces for All.

Streets and public spaces have often been overlooked and undervalued, but are increasingly being considered the backbone of cities. Public spaces are places which are accessible and enjoyable by all without a profit motive and take on various spatial forms, including parks, streets, sidewalks, markets and playgrounds.

In 2011, UN-Habitat adopted resolution on sustainable urban development through access to quality urban public spaces.

Good public spaces enhance community cohesion and promote health, happiness, and well-being for all citizens as well as fostering investment, economic development and environmental sustainability.

Well designed and managed public spaces and streets are a key asset for a city’s livability and economy:

  • Increases property values
  • Multiplies retail activity
  • Enhances safety
  • Fosters social cohesion and equality
  • Improves health and well-being
  • Improves the environment
  • Makes the city more attractive
  • Promotes more effective and efficient transportation and mobility

The proposed Sustainable Development Goals highlight Public Spaces as a key and important topic. “Sustainable Development Goals, (Proposed Goal 11 Target 7 - By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities).”

It is in this regard that UN-Habitat together with the main partner for World Habitat Day 2015, UN Women, are honoured to celebrate and launch this theme during Urban October 2015.