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Cities in Action: Medellin Blooms with Life

Moravia is a hill formed from solid waste disposal in an uncontrolled landfill located in Medellin, Colombia. Since the 1980s, a human settlement that has been established on it has generated significant social tensions because of its environmental degradation, urban overcrowding and public health problems.

Because of these mounting issues, the City of Medellin has invested over $1.5 million USD since 2010 in the socially deprived and ecologically sensitive area. As a result of these investments, more than 200 permanent jobs have been created and nearly 2,200 families have moved from the hill to new houses constructed and donated by the city. In addition, 95 community gardens have also been built, 427 trees were planted and a 393-meter corridor of street art was installed.

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Since cooperation with the City of Barcelona commenced in 2005, the City of Medellin has been implementing an “Urban and Environmental Recovery Plan” in order to become a local and international reference point for addressing social and environmental problems through strategic urban restoration and community participation. The key factor for the success of this project was the carrying out of an environmental management approach that included innovative solutions, the relocation of inhabitants to a nearby area, and the creation of a cooperative that allowed Moravia´s residents to work and generate income.

However, many challenges remain. To address one challenge, a new environmental study has established interventions to treat and remove heavy metals deposits from the site and thereby guarantee the long-term economic sustainability of the project.

For more information, please visit the City of Medellin website.