There are so many ways your home impacts your life – and your food security. Consider the following questions about your home:

Is your home structurally sound? What is it made of? How large is it? How many people live in that space? Where is it located? Do you have adequate garbage and sewage removal? How much power does it take for your home to operate? What impact does that energy use have on you personally (is it available to you? it is reliable? can you afford it?)? What impact does your home’s energy use have on the climate and the environment (where does your electricity come from? where does your natural gas come from? how does it get to you?). Where is your home in relation to important businesses and services like grocery stores, schools, health clinics, and potential employers? What does you home’s proximity to these businesses mean in relation to how you live and your hopes for the future? Is your community growing or shrinking? What impact does its changing size have? Is the municipality where you live planning appropriately for the change? Is there a municipality? How many of these things do you have to think about regularly?

As the world population increases and cities grow larger, urban planning becomes more and more important to ensuring people have adequate shelter and services, and that we don’t trash the environment in the process. To draw attention to these issues, the United Nations holds World Habitat Day on the first Monday of October each year. From their website:

The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.

This year’s theme is “Planning Our Urban Future.” There are events scheduled around the world in observance of World Habitat Day; to see a list of them, visit Even if there’s nothing going on near you, you can help by talking about the issues of housing and urban planning with you friends and family. Many of us are privileged enough that we don’t have to think about these things as much as we should, so drawing attention is important. If you’d like to learn more, you can start with the video below from World Habitat Day’s Executive Director. There are also additional resources at the UN World Habitat Day web site. Everyone deserves a decent place to live; won’t you lend your voice in making it happen?

-Nancy Michaelis