Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

American Universities Field Staff Reports


Geisel School of Medicine


Habitat, the synonym for the United Nations Center for Human Settlements, is a new UN agency with a staggering mandate. Its charge is to assist developing nations in settlement policy and planning, in slum upgrading, urban renewal, and in the development of shelter materials. The upgrading of infrastructural services, such as those involving finance, loans, building codes, and regulatory laws, are a part of the mandate, as are such basic elements as clean water, electricity, and sewage removal. Still further, the agency, which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, is charged with helping generate rational land-use policies, gaining public participation, and helping build local management institutions that attack settlement problems. Given that the world will have to double the size of its built environment by the year 2000, and that currently 60 percent of the world is unsheltered or housed inadequately, Habitat does indeed face an awesome challenge.

Original Citation

Miller, Norman N., and James F. Hornig. “Habitat: The New United Nations Initiative in Human Settlements.” American Universities Field Staff Reports 28 (1981): 1–31.