UN Habitat Archive

SCARP hosts digital archive of UN Habitat Conferences I and II


Habitat I 1976

Based within the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning {SCARP), the Housing Research Collaborative benefits from the planning school’s long association with the UN Habitat conferences. The first of these landmark international events focusing on housing and sustainable urban development was held in Vancouver in 1976, the second in Istanbul in 1996, and the third in Quito in 2016. Habitat I was memorable for the parallel grassroots People’s Forum that convened in disused hangar on Jericho Beach and attracted top international urban thinkers and activists such as Buckminster Fuller and Margaret Mead. Habitat II incorporated lessons from Habitat I , styling itself as the ’People’s Summit’ and including civil society in the proceedings. Habitat III included extensive participation by civil society groups and individual citizens, and produced the New Urban Agenda as its legacy document which placed equity and sustainability at the core of urban development.




Habitat II 1996

The participation of SCARP in the conferences has generated a deep and enduring awareness of the global context for the work of planners locally, and created a web of connections with the international planning community. SCARP’s multi-disciplinary Centre for Human Settlements was created as a legacy of the 1976 Habitat conference. Students and faculty were part of the official Canadian delegation to Habitat III.

With its focus on human settlements, housing has consistently been at the core of the Habitat conferences since the Vancouver Declaration produced at the 1976 conference established a vision of housing freed from the influence of real estate speculation and developments that disproportionally benefit the most advantaged.




Habitat III 2013

In 2018, UN Habitat provided funding to SCARP to digitize the archive of documents and archives from the Habitat I and II conferences and to host the material online. The dedicated website offers researchers and the public access to a rare and historically significant collection of archival documents and audio-visual materials.





The archive of the Habitat I and II conferences is hosted by UBC SCARP: https://habitat.scarp.ubc.ca/
The archive of the Habitat III conference is hosted by UN Habitat: http://habitat3.org/