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Each year we receive submissions to the World Habitat Awards covering a whole range of different things. We carefully review each one so we understand:

  • What problem is being solved?
  • Who are the beneficiaries?
  • How is this work making a difference to people by improving their housing situation and rights?

When we compare submissions we look at:


What has the project achieved?

Housing Rights

Has the project improved lives? Has it helped to meet the right to safe, secure housing, particularly for people with few choices?


What makes this project different? Is it doing pioneering work in a particularly challenging context, or using a new or little-used approach to housing?


Is the project capable of continuing over the long term? Are the impacts of the project sustained after it has been completed? Does it consider how it works with the environment, people and society?


Can this idea or approach be used to solve similar problems elsewhere?


Is this tackling an issue which is particularly current, urgent or neglected?

How does the awards process work?

Stage 1: Initial Assessment, Longlisting & Shortlisting

Initial Assessment

Applicants are asked to provide brief information about their project, providing plans/pictures and other supporting information

Submissions are assessed by World Habitat staff. Only housing projects that are completed or in progress are considered.

Top 40 projects

The World Habitat team meet to review and discuss all the submissions.

Up to 40 projects are selected for further consideration. Any which do not pass this stage are given feedback.

Top 10 projects

World Habitat staff spend time researching the remaining 40 projects. We often ask specific questions about projects at this stage to help us understand them better.

After we have researched the projects in more detail, a maximum of 10 are shortlisted (selected for Stage 2) by World Habitat staff.

Projects which are not shortlisted are given feedback.

Stage 2: Getting more details

When we have our Top 10 we ask for more detailed information and then use this to prepare a detailed overview for each project. If projects pass the Advisory Group stage, this information will feature in the Winners and Finalists area of our website. Any projects the Advisory Group does not approve will be given feedback.

Each project at Stage 2 is also asked to provide two independent referees.

Advisory Group

The information we have prepared about each of the final 10 projects is sent to our Advisory Group.

Advisory Group members are chosen for their breadth of housing experience across a range of contexts. The group is asked to scrutinise each project, applying their knowledge and expertise.

The Advisory Group recommends a maximum of four projects to be assessed through an evaluation visit.

Evaluation Visits

World Habitat staff visit the four projects selected by the Advisory Group. The evaluation visit might also include Advisory Board members or World Habitat Trustees. We use this opportunity to understand more about the projects on the ground, the context in which they are based, and to meet residents/people living in the housing and other stakeholders.

Typically a two/three-day visit is made. Emphasis is placed on talking to the residents, local communities and other stakeholders involved, including visiting people’s homes.

Final Decision

After evaluation visits and any follow-up enquiries, final recommendations are made to the external judges, who make the final decision about the winning projects. World Habitat Awards judges are Ms Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat and Ms Leilani FarhaUN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing.

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