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Aerial view of a favela in Medellin, Colombia © UN-Habitat

  • Total value of UN-Habitat investments (2008-2013): US$ 6,585,804
  • Total number of UN-Habitat projects (2008-2013): 10 projects
  • Main donors: Secretaria Distrital de Desarrollo Economico (SDDE), ECOPETROL, ISVIMED, Departamento Nacional de Planeación–DNP, FOPAE, Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, FINDETER, CAF, APC, ANSPE, ICBF, AMVA.
  • Implementing partners: municipalities, government ministries and institutions, civic associations, Association of Colombian Capital Cities (Asociación de Ciudades Capitales de Colombia-ACCC), and financial institutions

Colombia is a country with more than 45 million people and with an urban population of about 75%. Cities in Colombia face great challenges related to the rapid urban growth. Some issues such as social inequality, unsustainable resources management, big development and security gaps inside urban areas, pose a great number of challenges for the cities.

General information

With the objective to work for a sustainable urban future, the national UN-Habitat office has identified and focused its projects to support the country on certain areas such as:

  • Promoting a better quality of life for people in the cities with access to decent housing and to a more safe and resilient environment.
  • Formulating and implementing policies and strategies to face a rapid urbanization and the big concentration of population in cities.
  • Defining strategies to ameliorate the productivity and competitiveness of cities to foster social inclusion. Promoting social and spatial balance to decrease inequalities and inequity in Colombian cities.
  • Generating spaces that allow a direct participation of citizens in decision making processes in cities, and foster consciousness and responsibility of them around urban areas and environment.
  • Promoting a regional vision beyond intra urban areas, by having as a priority the urban-regional sustainability based on a mayor integration of cities with its surroundings considering basic services and vial and commercial connectivity and integrating the risk analysis factor inside urban planning.

In all these areas, UN Habitat National Office has focused its country program to cooperate with Colombia and foster sustainable urban development.

UN-Habitat projects in Colombia

The ongoing projects are:

  • ASUD Bogotá: Popular economy of the agglomeration areas in Bogota.
  • ASUD Santa Marta: Capacity building in the city of Santaq Marta for sustainable urban development.
  • PILaR: Piloting an Inclusive and Participatory Land Readjustment in Colombia for sustainable urban development at scale. Objective: aims at helping Medellin undertake a land readjustment for city extension/densification in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
  • ASUD Medellín: Support and assistance of the enhancement of the Major´s Office of Medellín in the Municipal Development Plan of “Construyamos unidos un hogar para la vida” (Lets build a home for life).
  • National Urban Strategy: formulating the national policy for the system of cities and institutional strengthening for the association of Colombian capital cities.
  • State of Colombian Cities Report.
  • AMVA: Urban planning and land management in the metropolitan area of Aburra Valley.

Each project has a different approach, but some of them have targeted particularly youth and vulnerable population. The Office has had presence in cities and urban areas of all 32 administrative departamentos of Colombia, which guarantees a national coverage of the projects. The main partners have been: Ministry of Housing, Departamento Nacional de Planeación (DNP), Agencia Presidencial de Cooperación (APC), la Financiera de Desarrollo FINDETER, las Cámaras de Comercio, Asocapitales, Ecopetrol, Alcaldía de Bogotá, Medellín y Santa Marta, Fedesarrollo, BID, CAF.

Public Space

A proposal has been received to develop one pilot project on Social Urban Intervention for Safe and Accessible Public Spaces at Parque Tercer Milenio, Bogota.

Urban Renewal in La Candelaria, Medellin

As part of the ‘Participatory Land Readjustment’ program, a three year engagement with the community has led to a renewal plan in which all current inhabitants are progressively rehoused in new buildings. The renewal plan provides provision for public and commercial services and new income groups. The plan is based on a strong public space structure with options to continue small scale economic activities on the ground floors. It also ensures that the pre-existing community life continues with a building typology that is characterized by a sequence of patio’s, collective spaces, public spaces, streets and social communities.

Project Duration: 2013-2015
Implementing Partners: City government, community

Planned City Extension, Santa Marta

A Concept Plan for a Planned City Extension for Santa Marta was prepared.

Project Duration: 2014-2015

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