This reference work of Key Habitat Terms from A to Z, otherwise known as the HICtionary, is the result of deliberation and debate across multiple specializations, regions and cultures within the membership of Habitat International Coalition (HIC). The purpose of that debate—and this reference work—have been to consolidate and harmonize understanding of the various terms of art confronted in the work of HIC and its Members in the fields of habitat (i.e., housing, land, natural resources, governance and sustainable development).
Some of the terms contained in the HICtionary have been the subject of many years of debate across the platform if HIC structures and forums to reach agreement on specialized habitat concepts and their shorthand terminology that can be applied across regions. Other terms derive their definitions from reliable authoritative sources outside HIC, especially referencing legal source where appropriate.
For example, the HICtionary definition of “social production of habitat” is the product of a debate that began in HIC’s General Assembly at Mexico City in 1991, and culminated in its General Assembly at Nairobi in 2007. Other definitions include excerpts from international instruments to ensure accuracy and consistency with the law and transnational usage. This edition of the HICtionary is in English. However, most of the key habitat terms contained in this volume enjoy authoritative translations in other languages and are the subject of other language editions of the HICtionary (e.g., El HICcionario and قاوسHICالاا (still under development. Certain of the terms entered here are best conveyed in other source languages. While the concepts also prevail in other languages, the foreign term is retained as the entry for its habitual usage and economy of words (e.g., plusvalía, from Spanish; intifadha, from Arabic; nonrefoulement, from French; and apartheid, from Afrikaans), where, otherwise, only a longer phrase would suffice in English. Where appropriate, the definition of a term also cites its etymological roots for deeper understanding of original meanings. The etymological citations are found either within the entry, or in an accompanying footnote.
Some terms include their Arabic-language translation or transliteration. This is the result of HLRN’s program objective to provide HIC services to civil society and HIC Members in the Middle East/North Africa region. It also reflects the practice since the first publication of HLRN’s bilingual publication, Land Times/احوال الأرض ,which includes a “Terminology Corner” of habitat terms used in each issue.
The HICtionary is intended to be a living reference and subject for further debate and development of current terminology related to habitat. Your contribution and/or contestation of terms and their definitions are welcome and encouraged. To contribute a term or definition, or to contest and definition in this edition of the HICtionary,
please contact the HIC-HLRN team at firstname.lastname@example.org.