Barranquilla, the capital of the Atlantic region in Colombia, hosted an IURC Latin America regional event on October 20-21, 2022. The event brought together 40 delegates from 12 cities and 3 regions of Europe and Latin America, as well as representatives of international and local organizations, such as the World Resources Institute and Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño (Bogota), with the aim of facilitating the exchange of innovative experiences on urban regeneration and nature-based solutions (NBS).
The city of Barranquilla received representatives from the European Union Delegations of Brazil and Colombia and the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG Regio) based in Brussels, Belgium, as well as delegates from the cities of Rome (Italy), Malaga (Spain), Hermosillo (Mexico), Debrecen (Hungary), Milan (Italy), São Paulo (Brazil), Piraeus (Greece), Puerto Montt (Chile), Manaus (Brazil), Naples (Italy), Piatra Neamt (Romania), Cali (Colombia), Pittsburgh (USA) and Bogotá (Colombia). For Barranquilla and its mayor, Jaime Pumarejo Heins, the event allowed the city to showcase its strong commitment to sustainability.
During the first part of the event, delegates were able to gain knowledge and experience on urban regeneration and NBS projects, with a panel of presentations showcasing a variety of case studies: Karen Adarms (Municipality of Pittsburgh) presented Pittsburgh’s experiences of social inclusion through green infrastructure and urban agriculture as catalysts for a just transition, Gabriel Ortiz (Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avedaño) presented the transformation and regeneration of the Bronx in Bogotá into a Creative District, Laura Bulbena (WRI) presented different international case studies of NBS, and Ricardo Vives (Puerta de Oro) presented Barranquilla’s ambitious vision for the future, “Barranquilla 2100”. After the conference, delegates had the opportunity to carry out field visits, including Fábrica de la Cultura, an urban regeneration project where arts, culture, and identity become the driver for social inclusion and urban transformation, as well as the Malecon of the city, a successful example of public space recovery.
Other projects visited included the Ciénaga de Mallorquín Ecopark, the recovery of the body of water with microalgae, the environmental protection of its rich ecosystem and urban forests, income generation strategies for the local communities, and the development of new public spaces to connect the citizens to the most important natural asset of the city: the Magdalena river.
The delegates also had the opportunity to ‘live’ the city and experience the connection between culture, the Carnaval, and urban regeneration in traditional neighborhoods such as Barrio Abajo.
Barranquilla is a member of the IURC-LA programme. Through its participation, it was possible to develop a pilot of urban gardens together with Rome, and later design the first project of the urban gardens of Villas de San Pablo. The cooperation between Barranquilla and Rome laid the foundations for developing the project ‘Community Gardens: Productive Parks’, financed with cooperation from the European Union, and carried out in coordination with the Office of International Relations of the Secretariat of Economic Development, together with ANCI-Lazi, Risorse per Roma, and Replay Network (Italy). Before the study visit on October 19, 2022, a delegation of 7 delegates from Anci Lazio, Malaga, and Cali visited Barranquilla to learn about Urban Gardens and urban regeneration projects in its historic center.
The IURC Programme constitutes the second phase of the International Urban Cooperation Programme (IUC, 2016-2020) and aims to lead and develop a decentralized form of international urban and regional cooperation in the fields of sustainable urban development and regional innovation. The programme supports pairings between cities and regions of the European Union with their counterparts in six Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. In total, the network of cities and regions of IURC Latin America is made up of 24 cities and 20 regions.
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Author: Edgardo Sara
October 27, 2022