Every year, the month of October is declared as the “Urban October” by UN Habitat. This initiative is intended to create international awareness around the important topics of urban development and planning. Urban October is kicked off by World Habitat Day and concluded by World Cities Day on October 31st.
This year, World Cities Day is going virtual. Together with UN Habitat, the Government of the Republic of Kenya is organizing the global celebrations in Nakura, making it the first global observance of World Cities Day in Africa. The theme is “Better City, Better Life”, with the sub-theme “Valuing our Communities and Cities”.
During Covid-19, the value of communities has been showcased more than ever before. From sing-alongs on Italian balconies to WhatsApp groups to support risk groups in their weekly shopping needs to early warning systems, strong communities are a key ingredient to a city in crisis.
World Cities Day will consist of various events that can be attended virtually and free of charge. Various cities all over the world will contribute activities and media will cover the importance of communities for a better city life.
However, World Cities Day is not as known yet as UN Habitat intends it to be. The seventh edition of the celebration will likely be overshadowed by other, more pressing news from all over the world. At the same time, we should all be aware of how we can improve our cities – for future pandemics, but also for the good of us all.
Laura Puttkamer is a freelance journalist and urban development expert. She blogs about participation in urban planning at www.parcitypatory.org. Laura holds a Master's degree from The University of Manchester in Global Urban Development and Planning.
You can get in touch with Laura here: LinkedIn