Medellín is tackling hillside urban growth by adopting a socially inclusive approach to restoring ecosystems.
The Peripheral Garden of Medellin was established in 2012 in response to the risks of urban growth in uphill neighborhoods. Covering more than 65 hectares, the garden is framed between a footpath, bike lane, and clean mobility corridor. It is a picture of ecological restoration, environmental preservation, and sustainable housing. Thousands of native trees have been planted to restore ecosystems, and organic orchids have been developed to encourage new eco-businesses and preserve regional farming traditions.
Conscious of the communities that already inhabit these areas, the city included them in the process by providing employment and educational opportunities. At least 300 families are working to cultivate their food and start their own businesses, while 150 new leaders have been trained to manage their territory on the hillside. Another achievement is the establishment of the Fique Association of Pan de Azucar, consisting of 100 families with the goal to commercialize the native plant.
Unregulated urban growth on hillside areas of Medellín has caused environmental degradation of land and water resources. This socially integrated approach in managing vulnerable land not only improves the environment, but encourages economic growth and social inclusion in existing communities.
Economic Inhabitants of the Peripheral Garden have access to a new source of revenue from new farming opportunities, with 5,000 benefiting from direct employment.
Environmental The project restores native species and protects the region from further environmental degradation from urban development.
Social The Peripheral Garden includes two educational facilities, which have already provided environmental education and construction training to 1,000 community members.