Sunday, December 9, 2012

Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements (1976)

In 1976 in Vancouver, Canada, the United Nations held its first conference on the issue of physical and spatial organization of human life on this planet, and on the national and international actions needed to accommodate the growing number of population in urban and rural communities. This conference, called Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, established the concept of human settlements to consist of several elements that had been previously considered separately from one another - housing, building, planning and the relationship of these and such other activities as environmental change and national and international development. Vancouver Declaration defined human settlements as follows:
Human settlements means the totality of the human community - whether city, town or village - with all the social, material, organizational, spiritual and cultural elements that sustain it. The fabric of human settlements consists of physical elements and services to which these elements provide the material support. The physical components comprise:-
Shelter, i.e. the superstructures of different shapes, size, type and materials erected by mankind for security, privacy and protection from the elements and for his singularity within a community;
Infrastructure, i.e. the complex networks designed to deliver to or remove from the shelter people, goods, energy or information;
Services cover those required by a community for the fulfilment of its functions as a social body, such as education, health, culture, welfare, recreation and nutrition.
Broadened Concept of Human Settlements as a Framework for Economic and Social Development. Over the years, this concept of human settlements has been broadened to become a framework for an overall national socio-economic development in the context of formulating global shelter strategies for the year 2000. It is now contended that human settlements are the spatial dimension as well as the physical expression of economic and social activity. No creative act takes place without being influenced by settlement conditions. In turn, the creation of workable human settlements inevitably becomes an objective of, an indicator of and a prerequisite for social and economic development. Settlements are an objective of development in that places where people can live, learn and work in conditions of safety, comfort and efficiency are a fundamental and elementary need. Settlements are also an indicator, in that they are the most visible expression of a society's ability to satisfy some of the fundamental needs of its members: they can mark accomplishments as well as expose destitution, neglect and inequality. Finally, settlements are a prerequisite for social and economic development, in that no social progress for sustainable economic growth can occur without efficient settlements systems and settlement networks.
Thank you Dear friend Merja for this FDC with a stamp advocating these wonderful ideals of the UN.

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