Medellín: The Story of Urban Transformation

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Outdoor escalators in Comuna 13.
Colombia’s second largest city, Medellín has transformed itself in recent years to become a model for social and sustainable urban development. Through collaborations between planners, designers, city officials, and residents that are focused on the poorest and most isolated neighborhoods, the city has successfully used urban planning as a tool to create a more equitable and ecologically balanced community.
By centering new construction around schools, libraries, public transit, parks, and cultural centers, Medellín has witnessed a significant reduction in crime and unemployment while improving the quality of life for all its citizens. This page provides a deeper, layered look at Medellín’s many transformational projects, through GIS mapping and multimedia tools.
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Library Park San Javier.

Medellín: Ecocitizen Map

Explore the evolving interactive ecocitizen map of Medellín: turn layers off and on, change the basemap, view projects. For full screen view, click here. For more detailed information about the source of the local data, click the layer descriptions on the right.

Layer Descriptions

  • Ecocitizen Survey
    These data points represent how average citizens of Medellin feel about a range of issues. The questions are related to things such as economic opportunity and access to food. By clicking on each data point we are able to see the individual responses. Data Source: Ecocity Builders
  • Youth Population
    Youth population for each neighborhood in urban Medellin, Colombia. By clicking on each polygon it is possible to see data for previous years. Data Source: Department of Planning (Medellin, 2012)
  • Water System
    This map represents the fluvial system of Medellin, Colombia. It also has data points for the streams that are currently monitored as well as demonstration sites for watershed management. Data Source: Department of the Environment
  • Structural Axis of Public Spaces
    This line data represents the distribution of mobility systems within urban Medellin. These range from the road network and linear park, to pedestrian footpaths. Data Source: Department of Planning
  • Social Development Zones
    These spatial datasets represent areas that have been identified by the government of Medellin as being central to social development. They range from education and recreation, to health and service corridors. Data Source: Department of Planning
  • Senior Population
    Senior Population for each neighborhood in urban Medellin, Colombia. By clicking on each polygon it is possible to see data for previous years. Data Source: Department of Planning (Medellin, (2012)
  • Roads and Transportation
    This map represents a detailed depiction of various transportation routes that exist within Medellin, Colombia. The data shows road hierarchies, bike routes and also railways. This allows analysis of spatial density and mobility. Data Source: Department of Planning.
  • Residential Zoning
    This data (in m2) represents the amount of housing space that is zoned per lot in Medellin, Colombia. The gradient shows high density of housing available in the southern part of the city, with limited housing zoned in the other parts of the city. It is recommended to look at this data in relation to population density. Data Source: Department of Planning
  • Green Infrastructure

    Outdoor Classrooms

     The city classrooms for training in topics that encourage the commitment to care for the environment. In these spaces activities are provide that make visible the integral part of nature, as well as actions to help conserve natural resources. Around 20,000 participants use these classrooms yearly. Data Source: Department of Planning

    Living Walls

     These represent living walls that have been developed in the eastern part of the city as an example of green urban infrastructure. Other examples of living walls exist at the the Jardin Botanico in the center of Medellin. Data Source: Department of the Environment

    Urban Gardens

     This layer represents the development of urban garden plots within Medellin. In order to display the points in a pleasing way the data has been simplified into points. However, the Alcaldia collects information regarding the types and uses of the urban gardens themselves. This can be shown on more focused iterations of future maps. Data Source: Department of the Environment

    Linear Parks

     This dataset provides representations of the linear parks of Medellin, Colombia. The parks contribute to the green infrastructure and sustainability of the city. Data Source: Department of the Environment

  • Quality of Life Indicator
    Quality of Life Indicator as defined by the Medellin Government. These numbers are at the level of the Comuna and Corregimiento, which are administrative divisions of the city of Medellin. These numbers are not absolute but simply represent the scale within Medellin. Data Source: Department of Planning (Medellin, 2012)
  • Public Transportation System
    This map represents current and projected service areas for the different public transportation options available to the residents of Medellin, Colombia. The services identified are the Metro, Metrocable, Metroplus and the Tranvia. It can be seen that a much larger public transportation system is being developed and planned. Data Source: Department of Planning
  • Predicted Population
    Projected population statistics for each comuna and corregimiento, which are administrative districts of Medellin, Colombia. By clicking on each polygon, it is possible to see how the projected population has changed over time.
    Data Source: Department of Planning (Medellin, 2014)
  • Population Density
    Population density statistics for urban Medellin. The data set shows high population density in the northern part of the city. It is recommended to view this data in relation to youth populations and income. Data Source: Department of Planning (Medellin, 2012)
  • Income Levels
    This data at the level of the cadastral represents the distribution of what are known as Estratos. These are administered by income level, and dictate prices for social services. This is not an absolute representation of income but simply a way to spatially understand access to resources. Data Source: Department of Planning
  • Homicides by Neighborhood
    This dataset represents homicide statistics for each neighborhood of Medellin, Colombia. It shows different spatial concentrations of violent crime within the city. It is important to note how the homicide has changed. By clicking on different neighborhoods you are able to see the rate for 2012. Data Source: Department of the Security (Medellin, 2013)
  • Heart Disease Rate
    This data shows the mortality rate of heart disease, per administrative division of the city of Medellin. The concentration of heart disease within the center of the city is a case for more study, although traffic, pollution and minimal green space are likely answers. Data Source: Department of Health (Medellin). per 100,000 (2012)
  • Geological Classification
    A map of the geological risks associated with different land types and areas of Medellin, Colombia. The range from stable to severe geological restriction, along with areas under the special management of the Colombian government.
    Data Source: Department of the Environment

How “Eco” is your city? Take the survey and get yourself and your city on the map!

Click here to TAKE THE SURVEY

Medellín Storytelling Map

Take a tour of Medellín’s most transformational projects. Click on thumbs or map icons to explore images, videos, and links.

    Watch and Remix Project Movies.

  • Medellín: Urban Transformation through Education
  • Medellín: Urban Transformation through Transportation
  • Medellín: Social Change through Urban Greening
  • Medellín: Public Health as Agent of Change
  • Medellín: Youth Development for Urban Equity

    Medellín Ecocity Assessment

  • By Government
    IEFSindicators
    Ecocity Standards Primary Assessment: Medellin, Colombia (pdf)
  • By Citizens
    IEFSindicators

Partners

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