Local governance, urban mobility and poverty reduction. Lessons from Medellin, Colombia

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Development Planning Unit

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.
 
Description The research has rigorously examined the city of Medellín (Colombia) as a case study of municipally-led interventions across successive administrations seeking to redress deep and long-standing social and spatial imbalances, working with communities whilst strengthening the city's municipal revenue base and maintaining public ownership of key assets. In a context of neoliberal urbanisation where the market is often seen as the main contributor to 'modern' urban development, under some conditions local government can provide crucial leadership. Central to this are a strong and stable revenue base and a small number of institutions within Medellín, e.g. the Metro Company and the municipally-owned public utilities company (EPM) which in 2010-12 injected close to US$1,350 million in surplus to the municipality. By contrast, Soacha lacks the capacity to administer a similar project, and only the intervention of powerful institutions such as the government of Bogotá or even the country would offer any chance of success. Outputs outlining this include: Brand & Dávila (2011), Dávila (2012 & 2013), Dávila & Brand (2013), Bahl (2012), Acevedo (2013).

A second finding relates to the nature and impact of the aerial cable-cars (Metrocables) as a novel and highly successful form of urban transport infrastructure. Medellín was the first city in the world to use conventional ski lift technology to connect some of the poorest neighbourhoods (where daily lives had marked by high levels of deprivation and violence) with the city's mass-transit overground train. Residents' views about Metrocables vary: some benefit from lower travel costs and time savings, others complain about the long queues at peak hours. Transport costs have fallen for those making multi-modal trips (cable-Metro-feeder bus), and this compensates for the waiting time during peak hours. Gendered perceptions of modal safety affect the modal choice of bus over Metrocable by women. See Arango et al. (2011), Agudelo et al. (2011), Dávila (2012 & 2013), Levy (2013), Dávila & Daste (2012).

A third finding relates to the relative importance of isolated transport infrastructure such as Metrocables compared to wider urban interventions. Municipal investment in a comprehensive programme of upgrading had an even wider impact on residents' quality of life than the new form of public transport. New public facilities are designed by top architects using high-quality materials, a deliberate reversal of the conventional approach of providing low-quality services for the poor. While a gender perspective is not explicitly mainstreamed in these interventions, the way spaces have been upgraded and developed make them safer and more secure. See Dávila (2012 & 2013), Brand & Dávila (2011), Levy (2013), Dávila & Daste (2011).

A fourth finding relates to the scale of interest that a project of this kind arises among specialists and municipal officials around the world. This was shown in the high number of hits received by the project website (close to 5,000 online reads of the Spanish-version book between mid-December 2012 and mid-November 2013). The main output of the research (Dávila 2012 & 2013) brings together for the first time selected case studies in cities which have or are seeking to implement similar projects: Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, La Paz and Cali.
Exploitation Route Access to affordable and efficient transport is an essential need of poor residents in fast-growing urban areas of the Global South. The research examined the role of Medellin, a progressive local government in Colombia, in providing improved access to transport infrastructure for excluded low-income populations. It contrasted this with Soacha, a poorly run municipality adjacent to Bogota. Its scientific impact lies in being the first independent evaluation of the world's first urban aerial cable-car mass transport system targeted at a low-income area. This involved multi-disciplinary work combining quantitative and qualitative methods to understand the transport-engineering dimensions of the new transport system, measure the societal impacts of a range of municipal interventions in low-income areas marked for years by problems of severe poverty, violence, and inadequate access to services, and map the institutional environment that made these possible.



The societal impact of the research arises partly from documenting the nature and effects of a very specific set of interventions in a city that is fast becoming an almost paradigmatic 'best practice' case among medium-sized cities of the Global South. Thus, the research has attracted widespread international interest from policy makers as well as academics, with officials in a range of Latin American cities and national governments requesting copies of the research reports, copies of the book (Dávila, 2013), or both. The case study has been incorporated into international policy-making guides for pro-poor urban upgrading. For instance, it was included in the UN-Habitat Guides and launched at Rio+20 in 2012, and in the International Resource Panel report, a clear recognition that urban sustainability requires cities to provide a greater diversity of energy-efficient, low-emission transport with low environmental impact to reduce inequalities.



The lessons from studying the use and impact of simple ski-lift technology go beyond those for transport, urban development and poverty specialists, and can be of use to those interested in low-energy, low-emissions transport systems particularly in the context of climate change and high carbon footprint of mega-projects.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Transport

URL http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/metrocables
 
Description IMPACT REPORT: one year after the end of the project - Submitted online to ESRC on 30 November 2013 Title: Local governance, urban mobility and poverty reduction. Lessons from Medellín, Colombia Summary This two-year research project set out to examine critically the experience of Medellín, Colombia's second largest city (population 3.5 million), in seeking to reduce poverty and integrate into the urban fabric large marginalised areas, marked by years of severe poverty and violence. The research focused particularly on the impact of the novel use of two aerial cable-car lines connecting high-density hilly neighbourhoods with the rest of the city, and an associated urban upgrading programme. Though costly for local residents, the cable-cars lines provide a speedy and convenient system with low levels of environmental impact. The research found that the city's investment in a comprehensive programme of upgrading of the areas served by the cable-car lines involving social housing, increased public space, new libraries and schools designed by top architects, and economic support to local residents (training and employment in public works) had an even wider impact on residents' quality of life than the highly visible new mode of public transport. It contrasted Medellín's successful experience with Soacha (population 450,000), a municipality adjacent to Bogotá, where an aerial cable-car line has been proposed by the national government. The contrast between a well-resourced, well-managed municipality like Medellín with a homogenously poor and institutionally weak municipality like Soacha offers valuable lessons to other cities in Latin America and elsewhere. Findings show that, to succeed, a new aerial cable-car line would have to be complemented with a broader set of urban upgrading interventions of the kind seen in Medellin, managed by well-resourced institutions with strong political support. The research was led by UCL and involved both established and junior researchers, and research assistants in three Colombian institutions (Universidad Nacional de Colombia; Universidad de los Andes; Universidad Del Rosario). SCIENTIFIC IMPACT Summarise scientific impact The main scientific impact of the research arises from the fact that it is the first independent evaluation of Medellin's Metrocables, the world's first urban aerial cable-car mass transport system targeted at a low-income area. The impact of transport systems is usually measured in terms of variables such as modal choice, time and cost. This research sought to gather and process such data using quantitative methods (discrete choice models) from users and non-users of the aerial cable-car systems in the neighbourhoods where they were built. It complemented this with qualitative data gathered through observation, focus group discussions and detailed interviews, as well as through secondary statistical information and a process of institutional mapping. The combination of methods provided a local scientific impact in that it made possible a fruitful exchange between transport engineers and social scientists that is still relatively rare in the Colombian context. Outline findings and outputs from your project A better understanding of the relative importance of isolated transport infrastructure such as Metrocables compared to wider urban interventions in a middle-income country. Municipal investment in a comprehensive programme of upgrading had an even wider impact on residents' quality of life than the new form of public transport. Impact arises from a research design to evaluate the efficiency and reach of a transport system within a broader set of urban interventions and institutional framework. Cf. Dávila (2012 & 2013), Brand & Dávila (2011), Dávila & Daste (2011). Another finding relates to the nature and impact of the aerial cable-cars. Medellín was the first city in the world to use ski lift technology to connect some of the poorest neighbourhoods with the city's mass-transit system. Residents' views about Metrocables vary: some benefit from lower travel costs and time savings, others complain about the long queues at peak hours. Transport costs have fallen for those making multi-modal trips (cable-Metro-feeder bus), and this compensates for the waiting time during peak hours. Gendered perceptions of modal safety affect the modal choice of bus over Metrocable by women. Similarly, while a gender perspective is not explicitly mainstreamed in these interventions, the way spaces have been upgraded and developed make them safer and more secure. See Arango et al. (2011), Agudelo et al. (2011), Dávila (2012 & 2013), Levy (2013), Dávila & Daste (2012). The research has inspired new research (PhD theses at UCL & Berkeley, MSc theses in Brazil, US & Colombia), research on transport and land-use in Medellin (funded by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy), and on poor areas of Bogota and Soacha on community participation. Findings and the strong institutional linkages built during the research spurred additional academic activities involving staff not involved in the research and students at UCL and Universidad Nacional de Colombia in 2013 and 2014. Outline how these impacts were achieved Built-in to the research were a national (e.g. Colombia-based) and an international workshop in Colombia with over 200 participants from 20 countries to reflect upon the case of Medellín. This outlined the main findings and provided an opportunity for representatives from aid agencies, national governments, municipalities, local communities, academics, students and international experts to share views on the effectiveness of the municipal interventions and assess the potential of applying this model in other cities. The discussion gave rise to an international network of policy makers and professionals in urban development to exchange best practices on urban mobility, and led to a major book (Dávila, 2012 & 2013) on the subject aimed at policymakers and practitioners in the Global South. Team members have delivered over 30 lectures and conference papers in eight countries including some on the methodological lessons arising from this multi-disciplinary research project. The case study on Medellin has been incorporated into international policy-making guides for pro-poor urban upgrading. For instance, it was included in the UN-Habitat Guides and launched at Rio+20 in 2012, and in the International Resource Panel report, a clear recognition that urban sustainability requires cities to provide a greater diversity of energy-efficient, low-emission transport with low environmental impact to reduce inequalities. Outline who the findings and outputs had an impact upon • Members of the academic community and university students in Medellin, especially in the fields of urban development, urban planning, transport engineering, housing, social development. • Junior researchers in the partner institutions in London, Medellin and Bogota. • UCL academics and international students who have built on the strong institutional linkages between the research partners in London and Medellin. • Academics internationally wishing to have a better grasp of a specific example of the links between urban mobility and poverty, and more particularly how a municipal government intervention can affect these; this includes a growing number of PhD research projects and MSc theses by aspiring academics in different countries, including Latin America, US and Europe. ECONOMIC AND SOCIETAL IMPACT Summarise impact(s) The societal impact of the research arises partly from the fact that it rigorously documented the nature and effects of a very specific set of interventions in a city that is fast becoming an almost paradigmatic 'best practice' case among medium-sized cities of the Global South. The research has attracted widespread international interest from academics as well as from policy makers, with officials in a range of Latin American cities and national governments requesting copies of the research reports, copies of the book (Dávila, 2012 & 2013), or both. As municipal and national concern with the growing problems of urban poverty and inequality as well as interest in short-term transport solutions such as aerial cable-cars multiply around the world, growing demand of the findings from this research demonstrates an eagerness to understand the potential economic, social and transport impacts of such systems. The research has helped promote a heightened international discussion amongst policy-makers, planners and professional practitioners on the linkages between urban mobility and poverty, and its findings have been reflected in increased international media attention and high-level workshop events. In Medellin the research helped raise the profile of low-income communities among local politicians and the public at large, and contributed to a greater sense of ownership of the new urban infrastructure and pride among residents. In Soacha it highlighted the considerable institutional weaknesses and technical difficulties that a proposed new system might encounter. The research also impacted positively on local capacity building by engaging young researchers in in-depth, rigorous academic research; it gave both established and young researchers an outlet for rigorous research on an important issue they would otherwise not have explored with the same depth. Outline findings and outputs The research rigorously examined Medellín as a case study of municipally-led interventions across successive administrations seeking to redress deep and long-standing social and spatial imbalances, working with communities whilst strengthening the city's municipal revenue base and maintaining public ownership of key assets. In a context of neoliberal urbanisation where the market is often seen as the main contributor to 'modern' urban development, under some conditions local government can provide crucial leadership. Central to this are a strong and stable revenue base and a small number of institutions within Medellín, e.g. the Metro Company, and the municipally-owned public utilities company (EPM) which in 2010-12 injected ca. US$1,350 million in surplus to the municipality. By contrast, Soacha lacks the capacity to administer a similar project, and only the intervention of powerful institutions such as the government of Bogotá or even the country would offer any chance of success. See Brand & Dávila (2011); Dávila (2012 & 2013); Dávila & Brand (2013), Bahl (2012), Acevedo (2013). In Medellin, the research - including both the process of gathering and processing data and its dissemination through a range of means including the two workshops - helped raise the profile of low-income communities in hilly areas, and contributed to a greater sense of ownership of the new urban infrastructure and pride among residents. In Soacha the research highlighted the considerable institutional weaknesses and technical difficulties that a proposed new system might encounter if built. Another finding relates to the scale of interest that a project of this kind generates among academics and practitioners in urban planning and transport engineering, as well as policy-makers and municipal officials in Colombia and around the world. Outline how these impacts were achieved The main output of the research is a book (Dávila, 2012 & 2013) bringing together findings from Medellin and Soacha and case studies in cities which have already or are seeking to implement similar projects: Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, La Paz and Cali. 500 copies of the Spanish version were distributed widely in Colombia and Latin America, with the free online version accessed 4,264 times between 14/12/12 and 8/11/13. The English version, launched in October 2013 in London, will be the focus of a special event at the World Urban Forum in Medellin in April 2014. Several scientific publications were also produced, largely for an academic audience. Team members have delivered over 30 lectures and conference papers in eight countries and have participated in discussions and interviews with policy makers and other decision makers at local, national (Colombia), and international levels. Findings have attracted attention of policy-makers nationally and internationally. The Medellín research team was approached by Bogotá's government in 2012 interested in designing cable-car systems. The Bogotá team was approached by the national government for advice on Soacha. The CEO of the Medellín Metro Company, a commercial enterprise owned jointly by the Municipality and the Province of Antioquia, requested copies of the book for all members of the Executive Board. Municipal and national officials in Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Cuba have also requested copies of the book. The research has had coverage in the popular media. For example, Prof. Dávila has been interviewed about the findings for TV and radio in Colombia and for internet radio in Mexico. Outline who the findings and outputs had an impact upon • Practitioners and policy-makers in the fields of urban planning and transport in Medellin. • The organised low-income communities in the affected areas of Medellin. • The residents of the low-income areas of Soacha where an aerial cable-car system is planned. • Officials in Medellin's local government institutions, most notably the Metro Company and the Municipality. • Policy-makers and technical staff at national government level in Colombia and other Latin American countries (and elsewhere) with a responsibility for designing transport systems and urban upgrading programmes that benefit the urban poor. UNEXPECTED IMPACTS Interest in the results of this research and on the range of innovative urban management and planning interventions in Medellin is constantly growing, with universities especially in the US and Europe, practitioners, and policy-makers seeking to learn from them. Visits to Medellin by doctoral researchers and post-graduate student groups are on the increase, with local researchers and students often benefitting from exchanges. In the case of UCL, a group of academics and their students has built on the strong institutional linkages arising from the project. It is expected that the detailed findings from this research, not simply its detailed description and analysis of Medellin itself, but especially the deliberate contrast with Soacha, will continue informing such academic exercises. Perhaps more importantly, it is expected that they will inform policy-makers (e.g. mayors, ministers) and specialised professionals in making decisions about the intersection of mass transit systems and the relative isolation of many low-income areas by drawing on some of the lessons from the comparison between Medellin and Soacha. POTENTIAL FUTURE IMPACTS Medellin's experience will receive a major boost to its image and unprecedented exposure to its interventions of the kind described in the research when it host the UN-Habitat's World Urban Forum in April 2014. This biennial event is the largest concentration of human settlement specialists in the world and the 2014 version will offer an important contribution to the discussion on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, more particularly on how cities and urban residents are to be considered in a common set of goals for governments and development agencies. As said earlier, the two language versions of the book will be the subject of a special event at the Forum, in the hope of calling attention to the specific nexus between poverty and urban mobility. IMPACT LIMITATIONS (SOCIETAL & ECONOMIC) There are limitations in disseminating research outputs, particularly to (low-income) communities and policy makers outside Medellin. To overcome this, the Spanish version of the book was made available as a freely downloadable online publication, with printed copies distributed among community leaders and key local and national stakeholders. Another limitation of the impact of the research relates to the frequent political changes at local government which means that often policy lessons are forgotten. Medellin has benefitted from political continuity over the past decade or so, but most other cities (e.g. Soacha) do not. By showing how mobility is directly related to poverty both nationally and internationally, the research has given visibility to a rapidly growing urban problem for which a range of solutions is available.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description GIZ manual on aerial cable-cars
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
 
Description United Nations UN-Habitat policy paper
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
URL https://www.habitat3.org/bitcache/98fd684b3e1ae2efa3d7d122c949c987d81a1118?vid=572976&disposition=in...
 
Description Call for research proposals on land policy and urban development in Latin America
Amount $82,000 (USD)
Organisation Lincoln Institute of Land Policy 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 12/2015 
End 05/2017
 
Description Magna Carta Fund
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 07/2017
 
Description Urbanisation Research Nigeria
Amount £81,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of the UK 
Department Department for International Development (DfID)
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2015 
End 10/2016
 
Description Collaboration for research and policy engagement in Barranquilla, Colombia 
Organisation North University
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This builds on the ESRC research on Medellin and Soacha to start a similar research project to examine the social and spatial impacts of public investment in urban transport in Barranquilla, Colombia's fourth largest city.
Collaborator Contribution In a new research project launched in 2016, our local partners, which apart from Universidad del Norte, include a local think-tank (Fundesarrollo) and a business lobby group (ProBarranquilla), will provide logistical and intellectual inputs.
Impact Nothing to report yet.
Start Year 2016
 
Description '8 cities that show you what the world will look like', interview for Wired Magazine, 26 Sept 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An article in the influential Wired Magazine, published in the US and the UK, on lessons from eight emerging cities, one of which is Medellin, the case study of my ESRC research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 'Leveraging municipal enterprise to reduce urban poverty: The case of Medellin', Oxford University Said Business School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An insight into the lessons drawn from the case of Medellin in building a strong fiscal base and transferring over $1.3 billion over the period 2010-12 to fund development projects mostly benefiting the urban poor.

Interest in how business can help reduce poverty and inequality in cities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description 'Medellín's 'social urbanism' : symbolism or transformation?', University of Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Medellín's 'social urbanism' represents a new generation of urban upgrading programmes. In Colombia's second largest city, with a recent history of violence and social inequality, the audacious use of well-established ski-slope aerial cable-car technology in dense and hilly low-income informal settlements was followed by major neighbourhood upgrading comprising new social housing, schools and other social infrastructure, as well as support to micro-enterprises. Although such programmes and the symbolic value of cable car systems have instilled among the local population a feeling of inclusion and integration into the 'modern' city, they can also be understood as mechanisms for the 'normalisation' of informal sectors of the city.

Greater interest in the links between urban transport and poverty
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description 'Technological fixes, urban governance and poverty: Medellin's Metrocables', Harvard University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Medellín's 'social urbanism' represents a new generation of urban upgrading programmes. In Colombia's second largest city, with a recent history of violence and social inequality, the audacious use of well-established ski-slope aerial cable-car technology in dense and hilly low-income informal settlements was followed by major neighbourhood upgrading comprising new social housing, schools and other social infrastructure, as well as support to micro-enterprises. Although such programmes and the symbolic value of cable car systems have instilled among the local population a feeling of inclusion and integration into the 'modern' city, they can also be understood as mechanisms for the 'normalisation' of informal sectors of the city.

Harvard University students became more aware of the potential role of the local government in improving well-being and livelihoods, particularly among the urban poor
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description 'The megacity challenge', interview by Peter Hetherington for Public Finance International, 18 Oct. 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact An article by well-known Guardian journalist Peter Hetherington, in which he quotes me and my research on Medellin.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description 23-minute BBC radio programme and downloadable podcast on impact of cable-cars on poor urban populations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was interviewed for and my research quoted in a 23-minute BBC World radio programme and a 3-minute film on the social and urban impact of a new aerial cable-car in Mexico City (Mexicable). These can be heard or listened to online or downloaded as a podcast from the BBC 'World Hacks' website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05ccby5
 
Description Encuentros International Conference, Santiago de Chile 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture followed by a panel debate on the challenges of rapid urbanisation, with examples drawn from my ESRC research on Medellin and Soacha.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Gobierno local, movilidad urbana y reducción de pobreza Lecciones de Medellín 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In this workshop the preliminary findings from the Medellín and Soacha case studies were presented to a Colombian audience comprising national policy makers (Ministry of Transport, National Planning Department), local government officials (urban and transport planners) from five cities, academics, private consultants and students

Greater awareness of case studies
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Governance, mobility and poverty reduction : lessons from Medellín, Colombia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Over 180 participated in the the international workshop "Local Governance, urban mobility and poverty reduction. Lessons from Medellin, Colombia,held in Medellin on December 12 -14. This included: 16 invited resident community leaders, 6 international commentators from Chile, Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil, the United States and Venezuela, 6 Colombian speakers and 24 participants from Colombia, France, Austria, Chile, Bolivia, Italy, Spain and Martinique. 99 students attended the event, most of them Colombian but with some also coming from Germany, Canada, Chile, the United States and France. The research team from the Development Planning Unit - UCL, London, UK, Universidad de los Andes Bogota, Colombia and Universidad Nacional, Medellin, Colombia were very pleased with the results of the workshop.

Greater awareness of case study
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Guardian newspaper video from a panel debate around the question 'are slum-free cities possible?' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Video of a Guardian-LIDC panel in which I participated in London in January 2017. This discussed the issue of how should developing countries effectively respond to the challenge of surging city populations and the growth of slums. Is it possible to have slum-free cities and should developing countries be focusing on upgrading slums or eradicating them?
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://youtu.be/I9aML_VxaCk?list=PLVcHgZ8lKP09DpwZaxehXGFppPEQBawRa
 
Description Intervenciones innovadoras para la promoción de un 'urbanismo social': Los casos de Medellín y Soacha, Colombia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Plenary speaker at the VI Seminario International Catedra UNESCO-ITESO. This is a prestigious private sector university in Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city.

Greater awareness of case study
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Interviewed and quoted in New York Times article, 28 December 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed for an article in the New York Times on the social and urban impact of cable cars in Latin America. This led to further requests for another media interview (radio) on the subject of the social and urban impact of aerial cable-cars and urban transport in general
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/world/americas/mexico-city-mexicable.html?_r=0
 
Description Interviewed by Deutsche Welle 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed by the online edition of Deutsche Welle, the German worldwide broadcaster. This appears as part of the article 'Seilbahn-Boom: Weniger Kriminalität durch die Himmels-Metro'.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.dw.com/de/seilbahn-boom-weniger-kriminalität-durch-die-himmels-metro/
 
Description Interviewed for 4-minute BBC film 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I was interviewed for a 4-minute BBC TV news feature on the social and urban impact of a new aerial cable-car in Mexico City (Mexicable). This drew on the two-year ESRC-funded research I led on Medellin's metrocables.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/magazine-40951326/flying-over-the-city-the-urban-cable-car
 
Description Interviewed for The Economist magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interviewed and quoted in The Economist magazine of 2 November 2017 based on the research on how cable-cars (and associated urban interventions) have provided support to livelihoods of low-income communities, as well as help them become more integrated to the rest of the city. It draws lessons for other cities in Latin America and potentially the world.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.economist.com/news/americas/21730743-they-appeal-both-politicians-and-commuters-why-lati...
 
Description Keynote speech in the Low-Carbon Cities Summit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote speech entitled 'Urban mobility at a human scale for a low-carbon transport'. Lecture given in Medellin (Colombia) for an audience of 300 on intervention in cities around transport in a manner that leads to reductions in carbon emissions and greater social equity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Keynote speech to the annual conference of ProBarranquilla, Barranquilla, Colombia, 15 April 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Keynote address to the annual Expo ProBarranquilla congress, with some 400 participants, mainly private entrepreneurs and potential investors from the city of Barranquilla (Colombia's fourth largest) and elsewhere in the country and abroad.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Lecture at the Escuela Nacional Politecnica, Quito, Ecuador 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A talk to students and professors entitled 'Urban transport and social development: A multi-disciplinary challenge'. This led to an interesting discussion by academics and practitioners on the potential for aerial cable-cars in the context of Quito, Ecuador
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Lecture in Havana, Cuba, January 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A talk to local politicians, residents, academics and students that led to an interesting discussion on the potential of urban transport as support for social and urban transformation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Medellín's 'social urbanism' : governance, mobility and poverty 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Medellín's 'social urbanism' represents a new generation of urban upgrading programmes in Latin America. In Colombia's second largest city, with a recent history of violence and social inequality, the audacious use of well-established ski-slope aerial cable-car technology in dense and hilly low-income informal settlements was followed by major neighbourhood upgrading comprising new social housing, schools and other social infrastructure, as well as support to micro-enterprises. The use of cable-cars represents not merely an imaginative and bold leap in dealing with social and transport problems, but given their low levels of emissions and comparative low cost, they are potentially significant contributors to improving the mobility among the poor within a multi-modal system of transport. Although such programmes and the symbolic value of cable car systems have instilled among the local population a feeling of inclusion and integration into the 'modern' city, they can also be understood as mechanisms for the 'normalisation' of informal sectors of the city. The lecture outlines findings from a two-year research project coordinated by the speaker and reflects on lessons for other cities, cautioning of the dangers of technological fixes in the absence of an understanding of the complex realities of urban governance.

Greater interest in case study
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Medellín's 'social urbanism' : symbolism or transformation?, MIT, Boston 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Medellín's 'social urbanism' represents a new generation of urban upgrading programmes. In Colombia's second largest city, with a recent history of violence and social inequality, the audacious use of well-established ski-slope aerial cable-car technology in dense and hilly low-income informal settlements was followed by major neighbourhood upgrading comprising new social housing, schools and other social infrastructure, as well as support to micro-enterprises. Although such programmes and the symbolic value of cable car systems have instilled among the local population a feeling of inclusion and integration into the 'modern' city, they can also be understood as mechanisms for the 'normalisation' of informal sectors of the city.

The audience consisted of SPURS fellows, a highly selective group from all over the world, who spend a year at MIT.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Medellín's metrocables : mobility, control and social integration 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In 1999, the aspiring mayor of Medellín (Colombia) committed himself, if elected, to building the world´s first aerial cable-car system as a means of urban public transport for a low-income, crime-ridden sector of the city. He won, and the following year, amidst wide-spread scepticism, work begun on one of the more audacious public transport system applications to be seen so far this century. By 2004 the first cable-car system was in operation, and after a highly successful start, a second line was built in 2008. Many cities, including Caracas, Rio de Janeiro and London have taken up the idea since then.

This seminar presentation takes a critical look at the effects of this highly visible infrastructure on mobility patterns and social integration in a marginalized, formerly (physically and socially) inaccessible urban sector. Whilst a lack of mobility is generally seen as an integral part of disadvantage, it is not necessarily true that increased mobility leads inexorably to social improvement: the context of the intervention is the key. Mobility is also examined from a dual perspective - not just increased movement opportunities for local residents, but also the penetration of locally controlled territories by state authorities, a time-honoured urban strategy.

No information
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Metrocables de Medellin : Impactos urbanisticos, socioeconomicos y politicos 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Lecture delivered to an audience of academics and students in Rio de Janeiro

Awareness of Medellin's case
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Mobility options and modes of inclusion : evidence from Medellin's cable-car systems 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Mobility is a fast-growing area of social research and, in hyper-mobile societies, access to and the appropriation of real and virtual mobility options is held to be an important factor for social inclusion. However, the question of mobility in cities of the global South has been under-researched. This paper explores some of the issues through the examination of the case of Medellin's aerial cable-cars or Metrocables, the first system of its type to be used as public transport in low-income urban areas. The paper first examines the theoretical issues, then briefly describes the Metrocables and their urban and social context, before analysing their effects and implications for different social groups. It concludes that whilst this innovatory public transport option offers limited functional inclusion in city life and, as yet, few material benefits for the inhabitants of the areas of influence, the Metrocables have been much more effective in terms of symbolic inclusion. The paper argues that this new mobility option also has important urban connotations, in terms of the normalization of informal urban life and, to a lesser extent, a degree of social control to areas before substantially outside the orbit of the local state.

Greater interest in the case study
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Movilidad en la periferia : reflexión alrededor de los metrocables de Medellín 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Paper presented at a Latin American seminar

Increased awareness of the impact of transport upon the urban poor
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description One-hour live TV panel discussion with policy makers and practitioners in Medellin on 12 October 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact One-hour TV panel discussion on the nature and implications of a low-carbon city in the metropolitan region of Medellin, Colombia. Apart from Prof. Davila, panelists included the Director of the Metropolitan Area, the Director of Planning of the Municipality of Medellin,a lawyer for the construction sector,and the Secretary of Environment of the Metropolitan Area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://livestream.com/accounts/4608897/events/2230380/videos/138662401/player?autoPlay=false&height...
 
Description Planning for institutional change : the case of Medellin, Colombia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The talk explores the different components in Medellin's urban planning model by examining the implementation of aerial cable cars and associated urban upgrading interventions. It stimulates a discussion around the ways in which design can contribute to social inclusion through pro poor urban infrastructure and analyses the political, social and economic context where the interventions were implemented and hoe these impacted urban dynamics and various social identities.

Greater interest in the links between poverty and infrastructure
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Presentation and panel discussion in the context of United Nations international conference 'Habitat III', Quito, Ecuador 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lecture entitled 'Local government, transport investment and equity in Medellin'. Contribution to a discussion panel in the framework of Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, the largest international meeting on cities organised every 20 years. The panel was attended by some 150 people, mostly members of the public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description TRANSPORT, URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND THE PERIPHERAL POOR IN COLOMBIA - PLACING SPLINTERING URBANISM IN THE CONTEXT OF TRANSPORT NETWORKS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In rapidly growing cities the evolution of utility and communication infrastructures has enabled the creation of 'premium networked spaces' exclusively for wealthier groups thus deepening already large social inequalities. By the same token, in a context of spatially concentrated income-earning opportunities and other urban functions, as well as limited purchasing power, accessibility to adequate means of connectivity with the rest of the urban fabric can be a determining factor in overcoming conditions of poverty for residents in physically marginal areas.

Using the case study of Soacha, a municipality adjacent to Bogotá, Colombia's capital city, we explore the evolution of vulnerable populations in peripheral informal settlements in parallel with the development of transport networks in the decade 2000-2010. Drawing on the splintering urbanism thesis we examine the apparent mismatch between the evolution of informal settlements and transport networks with the aim of identifying the effects of an uneven provision of material infrastructures and services for mobility on marginalization. We observe central elements in the structure of the networks of connectivity between Bogotá and Soacha, identifying the main gaps that lead to a fragmented set of connections. We develop a set of criteria for planners and policy makers in search of a better informed analysis of transport supply and policy development praxis for poor peripheral populations in similar regions and contexts.

Section not completed
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Talk at Universidad Católica de Chile and Centro de Cohesión Social, Santiago de Chile 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Public talk on how the notion of well-being can be incorporated into the design of urban transport policy, drawing on the ESRC research. A lively debate ensued among influential Chilean academics, students and policy makers about the implications for Santiago's policies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015