Origins, Preparations, Proceedings & Outcomes

Habitat: the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements – commonly known as Habitat I – took place from May 31 to June 11 1976, in Vancouver, Canada and was the first international conference to fully recognize the growing impact of urbanization and the need to secure political commitment for sustainable urban development. The Conference led to the creation in December 1977 of the precursor of today’s UN-Habitat, the UN agency charged with dealing with human settlements issues. Subsequent Habitat conferences took place every 20 years, with the second conference in Istanbul in 1991 (Habitat II) and the third conference in Quito in 2016 (Habitat III).

The decision to hold Habitat I emerged from the growing need to address, at a global level, issues pertaining to the increasingly uncontrolled growth of cities, as can be seen in a number of major activities and programmes led by the UN in the early 1970s. Firstly, the need to address issues around housing had been assigned an important role as part of the International Development Strategy for the Second UN Development Decade, starting from January 1 1971 (1). Discussions at the interregional seminar on the improvement of slums and uncontrolled settlements, held in Medellín, Colombia, from February 15 to March 1 1970 also centered on the need to create a global strategy to address the problems of human settlements (2). On December 15 1970, the General Assembly passed Resolution 2718 which recommended that Member States “formulate definite and long-term housing, building and planning policies and programmes for the improvement of human settlements” (3) in both rural areas and urban areas.

Concurrently the organization of a slate of major global UN conferences was underway including the first UN World Population Conference in Bucharest in 1974, the first World Food Conference in Rome also in 1974 and the first World Conference on Women in Mexico in 1975. Launching this line-up of major conferences was the first UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972. Stockholm “represented a first taking stock of the global human impact on the environment” (4) and generated broad environmental policy goals and objectives aimed at the planning, improvement and management of rural and urban settlements. Recommendations made at Stockholm included a call for a UN conference-exposition focusing specifically on human settlements problems.

On December 15 1972, the General Assembly passed Resolution 3001, which officially declared the UN’s decision to hold a human settlements conference-exposition along with the acceptance of the offer of the Government of Canada to act as host in 1975 (the Conference was later postponed to 1976 to allow for more time for planning).

Resolution 3001 highlighted “the urgency of the worldwide human settlement problems” and “the need for international efforts to develop new and additional approaches of these problems.” (6) Resolution 3001 also identified the following three Conference objectives:
1. To stimulate innovations, serve as a means for the exchange of experience, and ensure the widest possible dissemination of new ideas and technologies in the field of human settlements
2. To formulate and to make recommendations for an international government to assist national governments to understand present and future roles of human settlements, establish long-term goals, policies and priorities for development, and management of human settlements together with national and international measures designed to achieve these goals
3. To stimulate interest in developing appropriate financial systems and institutions for human settlements among those making financial resources available and those in a position to use such resources. (7)

The Audiovisual Programme
Inspired by the increasingly influential role of film and television as a communication tool, including at international events such as Expo 67 and Expo 70 (8), Conference planners decided early on that the ‘exposition’ portion of the Conference should feature short films or slide show presentations (‘audio-visual presentations’) created by participating governments on innovative human settlement projects taking place in their countries. This would be the first time that audiovisual media was used at a major UN Conference to “supplement the traditional modes of documents and speeches” (9). Each film or slide presentation was meant to be solution-oriented by showing the nature of a human settlement problem, the approach taken to solve it, the results achieved, plus recommendations. These presentation could then assist governments to better understand their own human settlement problems in areas including “water, sewage, housing, transportation, energy and the associated problems involving the poor, the unskilled, the migratory and the dispossessed.” (10)

Participating governments were requested to submit three presentations using either 35 mm slides or 16 mm films running up to 25 minutes in length, plus a three minute ‘capsule’ version of each presentation for use by national speakers at the official Conference sessions. The films and slide shows would be shown at a number of screening rooms including a central Project Presentation Centre open to the public, the media, and to delegations. The fact that many developing countries at the time lacked film production facilities would prove to be a major challenge for Conference organizers (11). Ultimately, within approximately twelve months, over 120 governments would produce 200 films and approximately 40 slide presentations, each with the required three-minute capsule version (12).

The exposition programme was financed by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) at a cost of $1.5 million with additional funding from the Canadian Government bringing the total up to $2 million. Discussions began several months before the Conference noting that the audiovisual presentations would create a very unique and valuable collection that should be preserved and kept together, and therefore should eventually be turned over to a new human settlements film library after the Conference for use by interested countries. This would increase their information value and ensure the money spent on participation in the Exposition would have multiple value (15).

The NGO Forum
Another critical element of the Conference would be the Habitat Forum, a conference for  NGOs that would run separate to but in parallel with the Habit Conference. The Forum would act as a space for NGOs and ordinary citizens to exchange views and experiences and to facilitate interaction with the governmental conference.

(1) General Assembly resolution 27/3001, United Nations Conference-Exposition on Human Settlements, 15 December 1972.
(2) General Assembly resolution 25/2718, Housing, building and planning, A/RES/25/2718, 15 December 1970.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Handl, Günther. Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration), 1972 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992, United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law, 2012, p.1.
(5) General Assembly resolution 27/3001, United Nations Conference-Exposition on Human Settlements, 15 December 1972.
(6) Ibid.
(7) Ibid. 5.
(8) United Nations Environment Programme. United Nations Conference-Exposition on Human Settlements: Plan for and anticipated costs of the Conference-Exposition, UNEP GC 6, 12 April 1973, p. 1.
(9) Carney, James. “Habitat Revisited: Prepared for the World Urban Forum III”, 12 December 2012, p. 1.
(10) United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Conference-Exposition on Human Settlements: Plan for and anticipated costs of the Conference-Exposition, p. 1.
(11) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited”, p. 1-2.
(12) Ibid. 6.
(13) Ibid. 2.
(14) Ibid. 1.
(15) Ibid. 6.

The cost of holding the Conference was estimated at $5.2 million (16). A three-year preparatory phase leading up to the Conference was planned to establish all necessary logistics, to determine key issues and to make draft recommendations for action at the international, national and regional levels (17).

April 1974: Enrique Peñalosa was appointed as the Conference Secretary General and a small Secretariat made up of approximately 15 staff members based at UN headquarters (HQ) in New York was set up to assist him. The Secretariat was to draw on the resources of the UN system, in particular those of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the Department for Economic and Social Affairs and its Centre for Housing, Building and Planning. During the three-year preparatory phase Enrique Peñalosa would visit 96 countries – some on several occasions – to exchange views with senior government officials on Conference matters (18).

May 8 to 12, 1973: A meeting of experts was held in Vancouver to start discussions on themes for the agenda and to establish procedures for the exposition portion of the Conference. Participants decided that the Conference should focus on the following substantive areas: the close relationship between policies concerning human settlements and economic and social development; international assistance for human settlements; questions of the growth and patterns of human settlements; critical determinants of housing, transportation and communication; mobilization of savings and resources for improving human settlements; and to take into account the results of the 1974 World Population Conference in Bucharest (19).

October and November 1973: A Preparatory Planning Group representing 56 member countries held a series of six consultations at UN HQ in New York. Representatives of UN bodies, specialized agencies, inter-governmental organizations and NGOs, universities and research institutes were invited to participate in full discussion of Conference themes. The Group suggested that the title of the Conference should be Habitat ’76. In addition, the Group decided that special attention should be given to the potential role of international NGOs in furthering the objectives of Habitat ’76. The following six Conference themes were selected:
1. Human needs in human settlements: the quality of life
2. Settlements and national development planning
3. Planning and managing human settlements
4. International resources for human settlements
5. Global situation of housing and human settlements
6. Community technology and ecosystems (20)

December 13 1973: The UN General Assembly established a Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) made of representatives nominated by the governments of 56 member states. Father George Muhoho of Kenya was appointed Chairman.

November 1974: A mass promotional mail-out was completed including 45,000 leaflets, 25,000 posters, 15,000 poster kits and 4000 brochures about the audio-visual programme, and 30,000 copies of the first two editions of the bi-monthly Conference newspaper, Habitat World (21).

December 16 1974: The UN General Assembly passed resolution 29/3327 calling for the establishment of the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation (UNHHSF), the first official UN body dedicated to urbanization, then under the umbrella of the UNEP (22).

January 1 1975: The UNHHSF was officially established with the aim to expedite national action programmes in the field of human settlements through the provision of seed capital and technical assistance, particularly in developing countries.The UNHHSF was given an initial budget of $US 4 million for a total period of four years (23).

January 15-24 1975: The first formal session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom I) took place at UN HQ in New York City and included observers from various NGOs. The session generated a broad outline for the Conference and a mandate for the Secretariat for its work over the coming year. The Committee envisaged that the outcome of the Conference would take three forms: a declaration of principles, recommendations for national action and proposals for international cooperation.They prioritized the following human settlement issues: the need to establish policies in national social and economic strategy; the creation of human settlement networks at the national, regional and local level; and the need to define meaningful minimum needs and standards as a target for universal improvement of the quality of life in human settlements, plan distribution and innovative use of resources (24).

February 10-12 1975: An ad hoc meeting of consultants was held in London to review long-range proposals for human settlements research and to contribute documentation to the Conference (25).

May 1975: In order to lay the groundwork for national participation in the audiovisual programme, a group of Regional Animators each responsible for a particular group of countries was assembled to advise and assist local filmmakers. The Animators were experienced filmmakers including some from the National Film Board of Canada, freelancers from New York City and some from developing countries. Film producers held a series of 5-day workshops for developing countries including in Mexico City (Central and Latin America), Addis Ababa (Francophone and Commonwealth Africa), Bangkok (South East Asia) and Geneva (Europe). Twenty film producers attended each workshop where they received training in film and slide production and were introduced to the key issues likely to be discussed at the Conference and how to relate these issues to their audiovisual presentations (26).

May 20-23 1975: Thirty of the world’s leading architects, planners and environmentalists and experts in related fields met in Dubrovnik to seek an “intellectual basis for [the] new interdisciplinary science of human settlements” (27). The report generated from the meeting had a great deal of influence on the draft Declaration of Principles on human settlement policy which was submitted by the Secretariat to the Conference (28).

June to September 1975: Four regional preparatory conferences took place in 1975 which were organized jointly by the regional commissions and the Habitat secretariat: June 14 to 19 for Asia in Tehran; June 21 to 26 for Africa in Cairo; June 30 to July 4 for Latin America in Caracas; September for Europe and North America in Geneva. Representatives of over 100 member and associate member states attended and some 135 projects were discussed. As a result of these workshops, 46 additional governments agreed to participate in the audiovisual exhibition programme (29).

Unknown Date 1975: An NGO organizing committee for Habitat was struck, with offices in the Hague and in Vancouver, to work on preparations for the Habitat Forum (30).

By December 31 1975: 120 countries indicated commitment to participate in the Conference audio-visual program with about 215 presentations varying in length from 10-26 minutes and each accompanied by a 3 minute capsule to be used in plenary session and committees (31).

80 of the 120 countries received financial and/or technical assistance (a maximum of $10,000 per country was allocated resulting in $660,000 total spent). As part of this assistance the secretariat also undertook, upon request, to purchase raw film and equipment and arranged the processing of work and release prints for countries which did not have ready access to these facilities or services (32).

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) financed eight more producers from the Canadian National Film Board and agreed to provide more financial assistance for 32 of the 80 countries. This included establishing an audio-visual post production unit at UNEP in Nairobi to assist producers from nearby countries where services did not exist (33). Aid to developing countries for audio-visual production was also provided by Germany, Hungary, Holland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (34).

January 12-23 1976: The second formal session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom II) was held at UN HQ in New York City and resulted in a draft of rules of procedures and the three main policy papers: a Declaration of Principles, Recommendations for National Action, and Recommendations for International Cooperation (35).

January to May 1976: Post-production of the audiovisual components took place. For developing countries lacking film laboratories, exposed negatives were shipped by UN diplomatic pouch to New York for processing and and then completed there, or sent back to the producing country if the editing, sound editing, mixing and printing could be done locally (36). The films, slideshows and capsule versions were then shipped to Toronto to be transferred to video tape and versioned into five of the UN’s six official languages (the exception was Chinese as China was not expected to participate in the AV program, however material was later translated into all six official languages). Arabic language tracks were produced in London (37).

March 28 1976: The world’s population reached the four billion mark; it had grown by a billion in only 15 years (38).

May 31 1976: By this date 236 audio-visual presentations (200 films and 36 slideshows) were submitted by 123 countries totaling 10,640 items. In addition, 13 presentations were submitted by intergovernmental and other organizations, including national liberation organizations (39). The implementation of the audiovisual program ultimately cost $2.3 million of the $3 million UNEP grant (40).

June 30 to July 1 1975: A regional consultation was held in Geneva under the aegis of the Economic Commission for Europe. From September 22 to 25 1975 two other intergovernmental working groups took place in Geneva, one concerned with the proposed declaration of principles and the other with problems of international cooperation (41).

February-May 1976: Organization of Festival Habitat, a city-wide event in Vancouver to run from mid-May through to July and celebrate Habitat with 10,000 visitors expected to attend. Festival Habitat was initiated and planned by the City of Vancouver, with the help of the B.C. Government and the Canadian Habitat Secretariat, at a cost of $750,000. Festival Habitat was designed as a “people’s festival… and a demonstration of Vancouver culture on a larger scale than has ever before been conceived” (42). The programme included a two week film festival, an extensive theatre programme, a large craft festival featuring First Nations artists, plus a number of street activities and a weekend festival in areas including Chinatown and Gastown.

May 26-28 1976: The third formal session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom III) took place in Vancouver to review Conference documentation and deal with any remaining procedural matters. The meeting was followed by two days of informal meetings on pre-conference consultations (43).

(16) United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Conference-Exposition on Human Settlements: Plan for and anticipated costs of the Conference-Exposition, p. 2.
(17) Ibid. 6.
(18) Ibid.
(19) Ibid.
(20) United Nations Environment Programme. United Nations Conference-Exposition on Human Settlements: Progress Report of the Executive Director, UNEP/GC/18, 31 January 1974, p. 4.
(21) United Nations Environment Programme. Progress Report on Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, UNEP/GC/63, 28 January 1976), p. 7.
(22) Ibid.
(23) Ibid.
(24) Ibid. 123.
(25) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, 1976.
(26) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited”, p. 1.
(27) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p. 123.
(28) Ibid.
(29) Ibid.
(30) Ibid. 6.
(31) Ibid. 8.
(32) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p.124.
(33) United Nations Environment Programme. Progress Report on Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, UNEP/GC/63, 28 January 1976, p. 9.
(34) Ibid.
(35) Ibid.
(36) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited”, p. 3.
(37) Ibid. 4.
(38) Habitat Guide, HomeTown Communications, Issue No. 3, April 1976, p. 8.
(39) United Nations Environment Programme, Progress Report on Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, UNEP/GC/63, 28 January 1976, p. 124.
(40) Ibid. 10.
(41) Ibid. 5.
(42) Habitat Guide, HomeTown Communications, Issue No. 3, p. 15.
(43) Ibid.

Taking place in Vancouver from May 31 to June 11 1976, Habitat I was the largest UN Conference ever held at the time, with a total of 149 nations in attendance plus other government officials and representatives of accredited non-governmental organizations and national liberation movements (44). During the next two weeks those assembled would collectively agree on a declaration of principles and a series of recommendations for meeting the urgent problems of housing shortages and land use in the world’s urban and rural communities.

The Conference attracted a wide range of notable participants including inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller, the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, architect Paolo Soleri
, Mother Teresa and economist and author Barbara Ward, who authored the Conference’s theme book titled The Home of Man and led the Conference’s informal advisory group (45).

The Conference opened at its main venue, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, with speeches by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Conference Secretary General Enrique Peñalosa, and others. Mr. Peñalosa highlighted the Conference’s three major issues: spiralling population growth and the resulting rural-urban imbalances caused by migration to the cities; the growing disparities in income and opportunity within societies and regions; and the lack of adequate controls over land use and urban growth (46). According to Peñalosa, “Habitat should not be viewed as an isolated, two-week long event in Vancouver. The Conference marks the turning-point in human settlements.” (47)

The General Debate was held from May 31 to June 8 in 14 plenary meetings. A statement on behalf of a number of NGOs participating in the Habitat Forum was read to the Conference. On June 9, a statement on behalf of the Habitat Conference for Children and Youth was also read to the Conference. (48)

A total of 236 audio-visual presentations (200 films and 36 slide shows) were submitted by 123 countries plus 13 additional presentations were submitted by intergovernmental and other organizations, including national liberation organizations. Eighty delegates used their nation’s three minute capsule films in addition in their speeches, so that “the realities of remotes villages were experienced in the Conference meeting rooms.” (49) The longer (ten to twenty-six minute) film versions were shown to delegates, the public and media at the Project Presentation Centre at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Media were also able to view the films at the Media Centre located at the Bregg Building (50). According to the official Conference report, “delegates were confronted, for the first time at a world conference, with the live picture of human society and of its striving for survival and for a better life everywhere on this planet. It provided an unprecedented vision of the tragedies, misery, and successes of human beings throughout the world, and gave to the general debate an unforgettable dimension.” (51) Overall, the large collection of audiovisual material produced by participating nations “not only represented a huge investment in terms of money, effort and national pride, but most importantly, a virtually simultaneous worldwide look at how countries were dealing with their human settlement problems.” (52) Consequently, “The need to preserve the audio-visual components of the Conference and to assure their widest possible dissemination was emphasized by many delegates.” (53)

Committees met at the Devonshire Hotel and Hotel Vancouver. Each committee was comprised of two or three hundred delegates (54). Committee I was allocated the task of agenda item 9: “Declaration of Principles”. It had a draft Declaration of Principles (A/CONF.70/4) prepared by the Secretariat including all submitted amendments. The final Declaration created by the Committee was eventually adopted by 89 votes to 15, with 10 abstentions (55). Committee II was allocated agenda item 10, “Recommendations for National Action”. The final document created by the Committee was adopted by consensus (56). Committee III was allocated the consideration of items 10 C, D and E, entitled respectively “Shelter, infrastructure and services”, “Land” and “Public participation”.

(44) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p. 128.
(45) Brown, Lindsay. “What can Habitat III learn from Habitat I?” Last accessed January 23 2017,
(46) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p. 138-139.
(47) Ibid.
(48) Ibid. 141.
(49) Jericho: The Habitat Newspaper, Issue No. 11, June 1976, p. 1.
(50) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited”, p. 5.
(51) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p. 124.
(52) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited”, p. 6.
(53) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p. 138-139.
(54) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited”, p. 5.
(55) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p. 138-139.
(56) Ibid. 169.

Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements and Action Plan
On 11 June 1976, the Conference adopted the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements and Action Plan. In these documents, governments were given specific recommendations and were urged to develop national strategies and policies to deal with land use and tenure, population growth, infrastructure, basic services, and the provision of adequate housing and employment, while taking into account human and social dimensions as well as the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized population groups.

The Vancouver Declaration and Action Plan were the first strategies created at an international level to address and control the issues of urban growth. According to Conference Secretary General Enrique Peñalosa, the recommendations made in the Vancouver Declaration and Action Plan “would provide a new and valuable framework for global development and cooperation … [and] would serve not only as an inspiration but also a yardstick for measuring the health of each society and the conditions of man’s life everywhere.” (57) As he further stated, “The Conference and its preparatory process, could only be measured by the policies, plans and programmes which would be implemented in the future, and those lay now with national governments.” (58)

To access both documents, see the Report of Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15. The 187 page PDF download is available on the United Nations Digital Library at and in the Habitat I Document Archive. The Report includes:

  • Chapter 1 (p. 6-14) the Declaration of Principles, also known as the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements
  • Chapter II (p. 15-95) : Recommendations for National Action, also known as the Vancouver Action Plan: 64 Recommendations for National Action Approved at Habitat. These recommendations are organized in six sections. Section A (Settlements policies and strategies), Section B (Settlement Planning), Section C (Shelter, infrastructure and services), Section D (Land), Section E (Public Participation) and Section F (Institutions and Management)
  • Chapter III – XVIII (p. 96-187): Recommendations for International Cooperation, preparations for the Conference, proceedings of the Conference, committee reports, closing ceremonies and annexes

Creation of the UN Commission on Human Settlements (Habitat)
Building on the results of Habitat I, the General Assembly adopted resolution 32/161 on December 19, 1977 which established the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements as an intergovernmental body, and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (now commonly referred to as “Habitat”), which served as the Executive Secretariat of the Commission (59). The Centre was situated in Nairobi, Kenya so that close links could be established between it and UNEP. The Commission on Human Settlements was composed of fifty-eight members elected for three-year terms who would provide policy guidance and supervision of the operations of the Centre and the Human Settlements Foundation, and would also provide guidance to the Audio-Visual Information Centre (60). In 2002, through resolution 56/206, the UN General Assembly merged the UNHHSF foundation, the Commission on Human Settlements, and Habitat into UN-Habitat, a fully-fledged UN programme managed by its own secretariat and headed by its own Executive Director, also a UN Under-Secretary-General (61).

Creation of the UN Audio-Visual Information Centre on Human Settlements
Six months after the Conference, at the 101st plenary meeting on December 16 1976, the General Assembly passed resolution 31/115 which which established a United Nations Audio-Visual Information Centre on Human Settlements in order to ensure the widest possible use of the material by Governments and interested bodies. The Resolution authorized the Secretary-General to create an agreement with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Canadian federal and provincial governments in which both government bodies would provide the facilities and financial support to establish and operate the Centre at the UBC. The Centre would manage the custody, reproduction and international distribution of the audio-visual material until March 1980. The agreement would be reviewed in 1979 (62).

The Centre – soon known as Vision Habitat – was established with Michael Heyward, former Director of Radio-Television Services for the UN Department of Public Information in New York designated as Director, and James Carney, a Canadian television producer and Conference Liaison Producer designated as Deputy Director (63). Vision Habitat was located on the fourth floor of the UBC’s former Library Processing Centre and a viewing facility was available on the building’s ground floor or basement for on-campus use of the audiovisual material. Vision Habitat was closely aligned with the UBC Centre for Human Settlements (UBCCHS), located adjacent to Vision Habitat (64), and which was created soon after the Conference as a unit within UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) in order to further the goals of the Conference by providing a research focus for issues relating to human settlements (65). Peter Oberlander was the founding Director of both SCARP and the Centre for Human Settlements.

The initial work done by Vision Habitat’s small staff of six people was to find, identify, catalogue and store the thousands of different audio-visual elements in Vancouver. The material was made-up of three primary categories: 200 films and 36 slideshows produced by 120 national governments for presentation at the Conference produced at 16mm film or 35 mm slides in one of five of the six official languages (English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic; Chinese was excluded because China was not expected to participate in the AV program, however material was later translated into all six official languages); 3/4” Umatic video recordings of the speeches, ceremonies and proceedings of the plenary sessions held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and related events; 3/4” Umatic video recordings of the presentations and discussions at the NGO Forum at Jericho Beach

Over the next three years, staff acquired distribution rights for the film and set up a non-commercial global distribution system for the Habitat film collection, with additional Vision Habitat regional offices established in Amman, Bangkok, Budapest, Dakar (briefly), Geneva, Mexico City, and Nairobi, with Vancouver acting as the Vision Habitat headquarters. Each office was supplied with films and videotapes in the regionally appropriate official language (67).

By the early 1990s Vision Habitat dissolved, (68) but fortunately in the meantime audiovisual material had been transferred to the UBC Archives and to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa. It was reported some material also existed in Geneva but this has never been substantiated. For details of material held at UBC Archives and LAC and digitized through project funding please refer to the Archival Sources section of this website’s About page.

(57) United Nations, Report of the Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, A/CONF.70/15, p. 184.
(58) Ibid. 184.
(59) United Nations Habitat, “History, mandate & role in the UN system”,, last accessed January 10, 2017.
(60) General Assembly resolution 32/162, Institutional arrangements for international cooperation in the field of human settlements, A/RES/32/162, 19 December 1977.
(61) United Nations Habitat, “History, mandate & role in the UN system”.
(62) General Assembly resolution 31/115, United Audio-Visual Information Centre on Human Settlements, A/RES/31/115, 16 December 1976.
(63) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited, 12 December 2012, p. 8.
(64) Carney, James, “SummaryEmailsRev120814.doc”, 12 August 2014, p. 3.
(65) “Audio-visual collection offers new directions for teaching, research”, UBC Reports, 17 November 1976, p. 1.
(66) Carney, James, “Habitat Revisited, p. 2.
(67) Ibid. 8.
(68) Carney, James. “WUF/NFB-Habitat Legacy Project: Project Document,” 3 April 2007, p. 2.
(69) Carney, James. “Apprendix A”, 30 April 2010, p. 1.