In 1985 the United Nations through Resolution 40/202 declared every first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day, with the first celebration held in 1986.

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 is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.

In December 2013, the United Nations through Resolution A/RES/68/239 designated every 31 October for the celebration of the World Cities Day. 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 urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. The World Cities Day was celebrated for the first time in 2014.

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

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.

A large number of events all over the world are taking place as  commemoration of the Urban October as well as part of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. UN-Habitat invites all those working on sustainable urban development to join the celebration.