Medellín, Colombia has proven to the world that it is a city capable of transformation. Only three decades ago, it was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world. However, by investing in their low-income communities, transportation infrastructure, education, technology, tourism, and public parks, the city has become a model for urban planning.
Now, the city wants to become Latin America’s first “eco-city” by working on a variety of initiatives in renewable energy, transportation, housing, water management, and waste management. Many governments and investors worldwide are focusing their funds on pandemic recovery efforts, but Medellín is taking advantage of this time to also work on establishing long-term climate-friendly goals.
Mayor of Medellín Daniel Quintero says that the city’s post-Covid revival will work in tandem with its climate goals.
Their aim is to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent, make all public transport electric by 2030, expand bike lanes by 50 percent, and double the number of public transport lines.
The city already boasts an electric charging station for its 69 electric buses, as well Colombia’s only metro system. It also has established bike lanes and a network of urban greenery that go through the city called “green corridors.”
Some of the strategies that Medellín has in place to reach their ambitious climate goals is to start locally manufacturing parts for a decarbonized mass transport system, says Jaime Arenas Plata, the director of Medellín’s Sustainable Energy Cluster. As of now, 70 percent of spare parts for the metro are already locally sourced, the city still buys its electric buses from a Chinese company.
The city also wishes to push sustainable eco-tourism by encouraging tourists to visit less urbanized areas that are under threat from the oil and mining industries.