The Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design
NORTHEASTERN INTEGRAL URBAN PROJECT

Running 20 hours a day, 355 days a year, for a total of 7,100 hours a year, Metrocable Line K is not simply a technical achievement—its success is even more a matter of social integration. In 2005 alone, the Metrocable transported 15 million passengers. The project was created to improve mobility for more than 170,000 inhabitants of this remote, underprivileged community. Today these inhabitants can reach the city center in 7 minutes by the Metrocable’s direct connection to the Medellín Metro system. Previously the same trip required a one- or two-hour minibus ride. Line K runs 2 kilometers, connecting passengers to the whole Metro system at Acevedo station, where users can transfer without buying an additional ticket.

Andalucía

Andalucía is defined by planned plot settlements with a linear road alignment; this orientation provides a high degree of consolidation and identifies the street as a constitutive element of public space, improving possibilities for intervention.

Dwelling Consolidation and Environmental Restoration in the Juan Bobo Stream

The improvement in these territories with low levels of consolidation was a crucial part of the policy of social urbanism. As a complement to the northeastern Integral Urban Project that focused construction on new spaces of encounter and public buildings, the Pilot Project for Habitat Consolidation in the Juan Bobo stream was identified as the first model of housing intervention in "informal urban ecosystems."

The objective of this intervention is to respond to the precarious conditions of both dwellings and the environment by implementing physically, economically, and socially sustainable actions to prevent further unsafe occupation of the area. It is designed to improve the housing standard and restore urban and natural environments.

More than ten small homes were built for relocated families. Where houses were well located and reasonably well built, they were improved. Some residences were replaced on site, which allowed for formation of more regular plots. Parallel to these initiatives, retaining walls were built to mitigate the risk of landslides. The territory was equipped with public-service networks highlighting the need to address pollution in the stream. Additionally, pathways, bridges, and public spaces were built as a way of upgrading the surrounding area and improving accessibility. Protective zones were set up for the preservation of the existing vegetative layer.

Intervention strategies:
  • Liberating the stream channel.
  • Distributing land at the mid-slope level.
  • Increasing density at the high slope level.
Results

Today, thanks to community initiative, those living in the area under the Juan Bobo ravine (New Sun Eastern Sector) have garbage collection, water and sewer services, improved mobility, public spaces, squares, trails, stairways, gazebos, and pedestrian bridges. These amenities raise the public-space index from 0.5 square meters per capita to 3.17 square meters per capita. The inhabitants enjoy greater safety, improved structural stability, more parks, and better sanitation.

Inhabitants now have titles to their homes, creating a basis for access to credit in the formal sector as well as generating lease revenue. The increase in construction height provided 108 families with at least 30 square meters per house and the technical ability for further development.

Granzial Sports

This project was conceived as an integrated space for sports activities for the residents of commune 2. It connects the existing sports fields to spaces adapted for passive recreation. It is intended to consolidate the area’s potential as a recreation zone. It includes the building of the Popular Sports School, the relocation and improvement of the multisport court, and urbanist works along the access roads, Calle 102 and 102b. There are approximately 500,000 beneficiaries from the neighborhoods of Santo Domingo Savio Number 1, Popular, and Moscú Number 2.

Improving the road system: 42c, 42d, and 43

This project focuses on improving neighborhood streets 42C (between 118th Street and 110A Street), 42D (between 110A and 109), and 43 (between 109 and 107A).

The proposal centers on a one-way north-to-south neighborhood axis, taking advantage of spatial continuity across the sector, a low level of traffic, and an ample supply of sidewalks and urban furniture. The interventions in public space planned for this sector echo interventions between the Popular Station and the Centrality Paul VI. The wide range of commercial ventures within this axis served as a prompt for the intervention.

Parque Biblioteca España, Santo Domingo

The development plan for the city of Medellín defines education as a tool for the transformation of the city. This goal is promoted through the Municipal Parks and Libraries Plan, which creates spaces for study, training, and community interaction. This approach treats libraries as another dimension of public space. The public Library Park is intended to promote the development of the central area of Santo Domingo Savio. This complements existing uses and other interventions carried out as part of the northeastern PUI. The objective is to offer the community both the services of a public library and a space for community encounters that include recreation, sports, and cultural activities.

Parque De La Imaginación

This public-space project is located in a place formerly known as a spot for dumping garbage, as well as for violent social conflicts. The intervention is meant to provide a community space. Ramps are the main elements employed to shape the terrain, producing several folds that become embankments for play.

PARQUE LINEAL LA HERRERA

The purpose of the project is the environmental restoration of La Herrera stream, a natural corridor that cuts across the entire intervention area. The course of the stream has been highly compromised and its waters are severely polluted. The project aim is to reclaim the degraded spaces, facilitating environmental restoration and the creation of public spaces designed for the community’s enjoyment.

PASEO CALLE 106, URBAN STREET PROMENADE

Calle 106 is the first street promenade project of the area, connecting La Candelaria Park, CEDEZO, Puerto Rico street, Mirador Park, Children’s Park, and the Santo Domingo Library. The project emphasizes pedestrian movement and involves urban furniture, tree plantings, and paved streets. The street level is a fundamental space of social life, and the local economy is encouraged with the improvement of street and sidewalks.

Paseo urbano de la 107

This project redefined the area’s public space to create a pedestrian promenade and build a park close the street. The purpose was to strengthen the function of the street in its role as a pedestrian axis, providing stimulus to business activity and socioeconomic development.

107th Street is a straight road of 660 meters between the river and the Andalucía station. A 19-meter commercial corridor experienced a great increase in activity, becoming a popular meeting place.

Popular

The Popular area is formed by the neighborhoods Popular 1 and 2, Nuevo Horizonte, and Granizal. The first ones present an organic plot settlement; the last one is defined by mixed plot settlements.

Vehicle usage is restricted by topographic conditions that shape the road grid. Narrow, sinuous streets articulate and integrate pedestrian mobility. In general, the streets are between 3 and 5 meters wide and slope between 20 and 30 percent, though some are even more sharply pitched.

Puente Mirador: Andalucía-La Francia Bridge

The addition of pedestrian bridges is intended to improve connectivity between neighborhoods, often limited by the large number of streams and natural basins found in the area. This first bridge, located over the La Herrera stream, improves travel times to and from the Andalucía Metrocable station and has become a new public space and meeting place between previously separate areas.

Some significant urbanistic components include:
  • The creation of a “park bridge” used as an observation point and a new visual referent for the area.
  • Improvement of the section of road along 48A connecting to the promenade on 107th Street.
  • Improvement and connection of street frontage, eliminating barriers and grates to indicate that public space is everyone’s property.
  • Construction of two new parks along the north part of the bridge and under it on La Herrera stream.
  • The addition of the Mirador (“lookout”) bridge—named by the community—which quickly became a physical and social landmark for commune 2.
Santo Domingo Savio

The Santo Domingo area is formed by the Santo Domingo Savio Number 1 neighborhood and partially by Nuevo Horizonte, Santo Domingo Number 2, Carpinelo, and Granizal. Its boundary is a product of the growth of the neighborhood and topography such as Santo Domingo hill, which limits expansion toward the west.

Santo Domingo Savio Cedezo

The Centros de Desarrollo Empresarial Zonal (CEDEZO), or centers for business development within the zone, is a program of the municipality of Medellín, established within the overarching strategy of encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship. The CEDEZO program seeks to promote economic development through business initiatives, ultimately improving local living conditions, especially for the most vulnerable. There are currently thirteen centers.

The Santo Domingo Savio CEDEZO is a joint exercise of La Candelaria Park and Building, distributed along three levels. The building is given a public terrace and continues its program on the lower floors: park administration, business incubators, and multiuse rooms. Its strategic location and the optimal use of all its levels turned it immediately into a model and a meeting place for the area. It also served as an inspiration for the design of other CEDEZOs.