Urban October: Promoting a better urban future

Published on 30 October 2017

This month IDS researchers have been commemorating Urban October as well as part of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

INDIA Mumbai (Bombay), Maharashtra
Taxis pass a homeless family living on a street in a Muslim quarter of the city centre near Mohammed Ali Road.
Credit: Martin Roemers / Panos

About Urban October

Since 2014 the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has promoted the concept of Urban October. Starting on the first Monday of October with World Habitat Day and finishing on 31 October with World Cities Day, UN-Habitat encourages governments at all levels, institutions, stakeholders and citizens to organise activities during the whole period.

The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right to adequate shelter of all. It’s theme for 2017 was Housing Policies: Affordable Homes. World Cities Day is a legacy of the Shanghai Expo 2010 which theme was ‘Better City, Better Life’ and aims to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanisation, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. This year’s World Cities Day theme is Innovative Governance.

In 2016, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) was also held in October in Quito. This year Urban October celebration will coincide with the first year since the adoption of the New Urban Agenda, the outcome document of the Habitat III Conference.

IDS opinion on affordable housing, refugees, safer cities, UN-Habitat and decentralisation

In a special Urban October blog series, IDS researchers have been contributing to debates on key themes in the New Urban Agenda such as: affordable housing; homelessness; urban refugees and wellbeing; decentralisation, and safer cities.

Urban October 2017: Revisiting the New Urban Agenda one year on By Dolf te Lintelo, Jaideep GupteAn introduction to the blog series, the promises and pitfalls of rapidly transforming cities, and the New Urban Agenda.

Sorry, we don’t have enough homes for everyoneBy Jaideep GupteOn World Habitat Day, Jaideep Gupte highlighted the real crises of ‘affordable housing’ and the importance of local regulations in shaping the future of urban spaces for the benefit of the many not the few.

Urban wellbeing, mental health and the Syrian refugee crisisBy Dolf te Lintelo, Emma Soye Early insights from a research project on wellbeing of urban refugees ‘Syrians and hosts in Jordan and Lebanon’.

UN-Habitat and the New Urban Agenda – one year after Habitat IIIBy Roger Williamson Reflections on the current status of UN-Habitat and how we might move towards a more effective approach to urban work in the UN and beyond.

The anonymous self and the city: reflections on homelessnessBy Hadeer El Shafie IDS’s Hadeer El Shafie explains why and how we must challenge orthodox approaches to homelessness.

Anti-corruption measures could have saved lives in Mexico CityBy Beatriz Aguirre Martinez Last month’s devastating earthquake in Mexico City highlights a dire need to escalate the fight against corruption. IDS’s Beatriz Aguirre Martinez explains why.

Shaping urban agendas: Are cities taking on the world?By Mireille Widmer Reflections on the tensions between global ambitions and local decision-making processes in shaping our urban futures.


Read more about the work of the IDS Cities Cluster.

Image: In Mumbai taxis pass a homeless family living on a street in a Muslim quarter of the city centre near Mohammed Ali Road. Credit: Martin Roemers / Panos

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