The theme for World Habitat Day 2017 is “Housing Policies: Affordable Homes”.

Housing is an essential element of urbanization and has transformative attributes to implement the New Urban Agenda. At least half of the land in cities is used for housing purposes, which are at the center of and precondition to all the human activities that is why housing development decisions shape urban form and are key to achieving sustainable and inclusive urban development. Adequate housing is a basic human need and part and parcel of the right for an adequate standard of living of all.

Furthermore, housing plays a catalytic role in economic development, employment generation, poverty reduction and mitigation of vulnerabilities found in cities. Any investment in housing has an immediate impact on cities and a profound influence on people’s life. Affordability in cities is an increasing universal concern which exacerbate inequality and exclusion. Urban dwellers spending more than a third of their income on housing are undermined in their quality of life and subsistence, and often forced to resort to inadequate housing options that may range from peripheral isolated locations, far from job or income opportunities, to informal solutions with insecure tenure and increased vulnerabilities.

The New Urban Agenda puts housing at the center of sustainable and inclusive urban development, encouraging housing initiatives for all income groups, especially low income dwellers, with adequate provision of quality public space, infrastructure and basic services, ensuring spatial and socio-economic integration. The integrated and holistic approach to housing will contribute to ending poverty and achieving inclusive urban prosperity for all. Policy and implementation strategies should include financial, regulatory, and institutional frameworks at national, sub-national and local levels.

This World Habitat Day will focus on encouraging all levels of government and all relevant stakeholders to reflect on how to implement concrete initiatives to ensure adequate and affordable housing in the context of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.