World Architecture Day, created by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in 1985, is celebrated every year on the first Monday of October, in parallel with UN World Habitat Day. Every year, studies and events are organized around a different theme on this important day, which emerged to draw attention to the role that architecture plays in human life and its future. This year’s theme of World Architecture Day, celebrated on October 4, 2021, was announced as “Clean Environment for a Healthy World”.
In 2021, World Architecture Day and UN World Habitat Day both defined themes that focus on the climate crisis and the clean environment. This year’s UN World Habitat Day theme was; Accelerating Urban Action for a Carbon-free World.
World Architecture Day and UN World Habitat Day themes aim not only to discuss the impact of the agenda topics on the future, but also to create solutions. UIA focuses on the theme of “Clean Environment for a Healthy World” in three key areas: housing, public spaces, and their relation to climate change.
The UIA believes that all people have the right to adequate housing. The current situation is far from this goal. According to the UN-Habitat Program, more than 1.8 billion people worldwide lack adequate shelter. Researches show that by 2030, 40% of the world’s population will need access to sufficient housing, a precondition for access to education, employment, health, and social services.
The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused major changes in the way we view public spaces, buildings, and open spaces. The experiences of the pandemic accelerated the shaping of the public spaces of the future. Cities on the frontlines of the health crisis and response efforts have prepared to rebuild public spaces in a sustainable and resilient way. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that cities are responsible for 75% of global CO2 emissions. Transportation and construction have the largest share in this ratio. The theme of UN World Habitat Day is also about reducing carbon emissions in cities. Architects are equipped to respond to these complex challenges posed by urban development. The UIA SDG Commission is working to build a bridge between the practices of architects around the world and UN initiatives. It aims to ensure that architects should not just be responsive to the new Agenda for Sustainable Development, but also take part in its implementation and development.