World Habitat Day. Photographing the city.

Living is an important dimension of individual well-being.

To spread the message globally, the UN has established World Habitat Day, a day of the year to celebrate living as a fundamental right of every individual. Oct. 5 is the day of the year when the topic ofhabitat is put at the center of discussions about the human/city relationship; a day to celebrate the importance of spaces, of human habitat, with the goal of reflecting on the health of our cities and promoting the fundamental right to housing.

Photo by @Wesual

This year, WHD's theme, "Housing For All," reminds us that in a society that claims to be civilized, it is not acceptable that a basic right is still the preserve of the few. Yet, housinginjustice and residential inequities are a reality that the health emergency shows us in all their drama. Between hashtags urging us to stay at home and home services (not only related to basic necessities) that mitigated the discomfort of isolation, we realized how crucial it is to live in adequate conditions and spaces and how the right to housing is a privilege of the few rather than a shared reality. Size, well-divided and flexible spaces, proximity to green areas, parks, health facilities and services are just some of the factors that determine the quality of living and, in their absence or presence, housing inequality that reflects as many social and economic inequalities.

Photo by @Wesual

Photography, in many cases, has helped us reflect on the issue with the eloquence of images. The poetic images of a "shared solitude," the "prying" photographs of photographers who aimed their lenses at lit windows, are some examples of a new kind of urban photography that began to spread during the lockdown. A more intimate and profound way of recounting, on a small scale, the changes in living and dwelling that the city portrait chronicles by focusing on the urban environment and the life that populates it.

Photo by @Basilico

Among the photographers who have made history in the genre is Gabriele Basilico, whose work is entirely dedicated to understanding cities, to reinterpreting the transformations of the contemporary urban landscape. The urban environment, a hallmark of his photography, was combined with thesocial utility of photographic practice, managing to speak to us also about architecture, urban planning and sociality, even when human presence was entirely absent in his photographs. Desolate urban landscapes reminiscent of empty, silent images of quarantined cities waiting for the future.

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