For the City of Medellín, strengthening the role of green infrastructure is a central principle that informs the city’s development, given the broad range of benefits that green infrastructure provides to biodiversity and human well-being. Expanding green infrastructure also supports the city’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, one of the issues at the forefront of the municipality’s agenda. Being part of Cities4Forests reinforces Medellín’s already established intention to strengthen the city’s green components and promote the establishment of an urban ecosystem that supports the city’s development priorities while simultaneously protecting and integrating nature and improving the quality of life of its residents.
“The climate challenges that Medellín is facing make it essential to prioritize the expansion and use of green infrastructure as adaptation and mitigation mechanisms. This is why we have built 30 green corridors, 23 green walls and planted almost one million trees in Medellín’s municipality. These actions establish natural support structures for the continuous development of the city that improve the quality of life of our residents.”
Sergio Andrés Orozco Escobar
Former Environment Secretary of the Municipality of Medellín
Medellín is working on three major projects relevant to the planning and design of the city’s green components at multiple levels:
Urban GreenUP is a European Commission Horizon 2020 project that seeks to develop a City Renaturalization Plan that better incorporates nature-based solutions into Medellín’s development plans. Urban GreenUP seeks to consolidate the management of the city’s green infrastructure, which includes the phases of planning, designing, execution, maintenance, and the inclusion of social components.
Medellín is also working on a project on the valuation of its ecological structures, which seeks to assess urban green areas, to understand and quantify the importance of their ecosystem goods and services. A pilot project is being developed in a section of the city in which four ecosystem services are being measured.
In addition, the Municipality of Medellín has developed the “Green Corridors” project, which works to create a series of ecosystem connections between the tutelary hills, parks, and environmental corridors of the city. The project consists of 18 corridors associated with roadways and 12 corridors associated with river basins. These green infrastructure corridors have resulted in localized temperature reductions of approximately 2°C. In addition to reducing the urban heat island effect, the expansion of green infrastructure also captures particulate air matter, thereby improving air quality, restores ecological conditions necessary for biodiversity to thrive, and provides new green spaces for the city’s residents, thereby improving their relationship with the city’s natural areas.
The Municipality of Medellín is spearheading a project called “More Forests for Medellín” (Mas Bosques para Medellín), which promotes reforestation of the city’s water resource supply basins located in rural areas of the municipality, which are of vital importance for the downstream water security of the 2.5 million residents of Medellín.