United Nations System-Wide

HABITAT - United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS)


The UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) uses human settlements data principally for local management - mainly urban areas. Two principal programmes in data collection and indicator development: City Data Programme (CDP) and the Housing Indicator Programme (HIP - jointly with World Bank.). Also of relevance is the Urban Management Programme (UMP - jointly with World Bank).

The Global Urban Observatory (comprised of the Urban Indicators Programme and the Best Practices Programme of Habitat) is mandated by the Commission on Human Settlements to report on human settlements conditions and trends and to track progress in implementing the Habitat Agenda.  http://www.UrbanObservatory.org

See check list in annex.


Data Collection, Observation, Monitoring

Data collection uses: Citibase - statistical questionnaire;  UMP - Urban Environmental Indicators questionnaire. Data source is from Citibase - cities with populations greater than 100,000 and national statistical offices. There is a pilot project in Kenya - 24 indicators developed to test in 8 pilot cities.  UMP, tested in 6 cities, is now being widely applied.

The type of data gathered is CDP - includes population and its characteristics, households, gender land use, housing facilities, infrastructure and services, municipal finance and environment.
CEMIS data is also gathered - settlements infrastructure and local environmental issues.

Methodologies, Quality Control, Harmonization

 Standardization and harmonization is via CDP - statistical definitions and classification of urban data related to indicator development.
The Global Urban Observatory is developing a package of simple software to help organizations at the local level collect, manage, analyze and present urban indicators data.

Assessment and Analysis
The Global Urban Observatory has a responsibility to produce the State of the World's Cities (SWC) report series which will synthesize locally-derived data and information into a set of global issues and recommendations. The SWC report will eventually reside on the Internet with only a summary published in hard form for the Commission on Human Settlements.
 Community members undertake risk assessment studies in immediate living environment and make decisions on appropriate and corrective interventions.

HIP developing tools for mesuring the performance of the housing sector using quantitative, policy sensitive indicators. Besides broad socio-economic data, indicators are very specific to the functioning of urban housing markets.


Expert Systems/Decision-support systems
The Global Urban Observatory is developing a package of simple software to help organizations at the local level collect, manage, analyze and present urban indicators data.

Early Warning Mechanisms

Reports/Information dissemination

Dissemination is via technical publications - e.g. joint publication with UNSD: The Compendium of Human Settlements Statistics;  UNCHS Citibase - user-friendly PC application software - contains databases on cities with population in excess of 100,000. On disk by UNCHS and through UN Statistics Division;  HIP - reports which document methodology, definitions, sets of indicators, results from field studies. Citibase is used by any interested parties
 Promotion of use of the information encouraged by collection of good and best practices on the use of information in local decision-making, with the intention of converting these to case studies for inclusion in future learning packages.

Information for decision on local living environments is most useful at the local level for city management, participatory decision-making and policy development.

Network Development and Support
Habitat manages the following networks: Human Settlements Database (HSDB); Community-based Environmental Management Information System (CEMIS), under Settlement Infrastructure and Environment Programme.

The Global Urban Observatory links networks of urban observatories with networks of policy-makers to support city-to-city and peer-to-peer learning.

Interaction with other networks is through a global resource database - Citi Link assembled through Internet E-mail (and/or other communications highways) will be available in the near future

The Global Urban Observatory builds capacity to collect and manage information at the local level by encouraging the designation of regional, national and local urban observatories (RUOs, NUOs, LUOs), worldwide and identifying regional research institutions that can take on a capacity building role.

There are plans to develop networks of Local Urban Observatories and to train trainers for the application of urban indicators. The Urban Indicators Programme is working with national and local level focal points to hold a series of regional seminars on the selection and use of urban indicators, including urban waste indicators. Workshops have been held in Bamako and Bogota and are planned in Amman and, possibly, Istanbul, among others.
 Technical assistance programmes are being developed to enable analysis of data obtained and to use it in evaluation of indicators.
 Kenya pilot - Traning in use of micro-computer techniques for data collection, interpretation, analysis and dissemination.

Internet Access

This website contains information about: Commission on Human Settlements; The Habitat Agenda and The Istanbul Declaration; The Habitat II Conference in Istanbul in June 1996; Urban Indicators Programme; Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme; Sustainable Cities Programme

Global Urban Observatory: http://www.UrbanObservatory.org

Responsible Office/Person (for inquiries or follow-up):
Jay Moor
 The Global Urban Observatory
 UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
 United Nations Office at Nairobi
 P.O. Box 30030
 Nairobi, Kenya
 Tel: +254-2 623693/623694/623184
 Fax: +254-2 624264/623080
 E-mail: jay.moor@unchs.org

Mr. L. Ludvigsen
 UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Geneva Office
 Room E 6.1
 Palais des Nations
 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
 Tel: +41 22 917 4683
 Fax: +41 22 917 0033
 E-mail: lludvigsen@unog.ch

Date of preparation:  April 1998, revised March 1999

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Check list - mark (X) areas of major or minor focus.

ORGANIZATION:HABITAT - United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS)

Chapter 7. Human settlements
7A. Shelter
7B. Human settlement management
7C. Land use
7D. Infrastructure
7F. Disaster-prone areas
7H. Human resources/capacity

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