World Habitat Awards

January 14, 2020


The World Habitat Awards recognise and highlight innovative, outstanding and sometimes revolutionary housing ideas, projects and programmes from across the world. More than 250 outstanding World Habitat Awards projects have been recognised over the years, demonstrating substantial, lasting improvements in living conditions.

Each year two winners receive £10,000 each and a trophy, presented at a global UN-Habitat event.


The Awards were established in 1985 for the identification and the promotion of good habitat practices. They were initiated in 1987 as World Habitat contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. The concept of identification of good practice was virtually unknown in 1985 and the Awards were supposed to run over three years only. However, the response was so positive that World Habitat decided to keep the competition running. After 30 years, the World Habitat Awards are going from strength to strength.

Over the years, a large range of excellent habitat projects were identified in the countries of the global North and the global South. These projects of different sizes and shapes tackle a wide range of housing issues. From the very beginning, the focus has been not only on the identification of good housing practices but also in the sharing of knowledge and experience to others who can transfer them in their own situations. The first international peer exchange to a World Habitat Award project winner was in 1987 and the exchanges have continued ever since.

The first awards were presented in 1986 in London by HRH the Prince of Wales and the Dr Arcot Ramachandran, UN-HABITAT Executive Director.

How to Enter?

The World Habitat Awards competition has been run by World Habitat in partnership with UN-Habitat since 1985. In that time some of the world’s most remarkable and innovative housing projects have received international recognition for their work. In 2020, we will be presenting Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards to the most outstanding projects and programmes.

The two GOLD Award-winning projects receive:

  • a trophy (presented at a global event) in recognition of their work to develop and deliver good practice in housing. World Habitat meets travel and accommodation costs for a project representative to attend the awards ceremony;
  • prize money of £10,000; and
  • follow-up support from World Habitat through our transfer programme

Silver and Bronze Award-winning projects receive a certificate and the opportunity to partner with World Habitat in the promotion of their initiatives.


We want to hear about projects from around the world that:

  • focus on affordable and adequate housing;
  • have taken action to address the climate emergency;
  • are in progress or have been completed in the last ten years; and
  • have been designed and/ or delivered in close collaboration with the residents/ local community.

Please note that projects at design/ prototype/ planning stage or completed over ten years ago will not be considered. We do not fund projects. All entries must be received by 23:59 GMT on Monday 23rd March 2020

If you are in any doubt whether your project is eligible, please email

The 2020 World Habitat Awards are open for entries  from 1 January to 23 March 2020The Awards are open to all individuals, organisations or governments who have addressed housing challenges. We encourage entries from all over the world as the World Habitat Awards are given to projects from the global North as well as the South that provide practical and innovative housing solutions.

Whilst the housing element must be a key part of each submission, entrants are encouraged to submit projects and programmes that view the term ‘habitat’ from a broad perspective. Entries are encouraged that also address wider issues, for example: the climate emergency and environmental sustainability; social inclusion and income generation. Entries must detail housing projects and/or programmes that are either completed or in progress. Those that are at design stage only or in the very early stages of development will not be considered.

You can enter more than one project or programme in the same year. Previous entrants can re-submit in subsequent years providing that the project has developed significantly in the intervening time period. In addition, projects that were completed more than 10 years ago will also not be considered. You can enter projects that were developed and/or implemented by another individual or organisation. However, your entry must include a letter of permission from the original designer/implementer agreeing to its entry and for its publication in the event of it winning an Award.

Images, plans and/or supporting documents can be submitted via the online application form or by email to If you email documents separately, please include your name, organisation and the name of your project. Entries may be submitted in English, Spanish or French.