What makes Medellín the poster-child of sustainable transport?

via Devex YouTube channel

The city of Medellín, Colombia, once notorious for its drug cartels, is now celebrated for fostering social inclusion through urban planning.

So how did it come to be a leader in sustainable urban development?

Following a string of forward-thinking mayors, the city’s electric trams, outdoor escalators and cable cars today connect the poorest neighborhoods to the city center as part of a transformation that is not only physical, but social.

Devex spoke with the current mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez Zuluaga, on the sidelines of the Smart City Expo in Barcelona last November about the key to creating a more inclusive city and lessons that could be shared with other cities around the world.

“When we speak about innovative cities and smart cities, we also need well-informed citizens who make their own decisions,” he said. “A government is only successful if it’s joined by the citizens.”

Watch the video above to hear more about Medellín, its path to global acclaim, and the ongoing challenges that remain.

Over six weeks, Devex and our partners will explore what it takes to build a successful smart city, how climate resilient and environmentally friendly infrastructure and technologies are being implemented, and how actors in the global development community are working together toward common goals and engaging local communities in an inclusive way. Join us as we examine what it takes to create our smart cities of the future by tagging #SmartCities and @Devex.

About the authors

  • Helen cropped

    Helen Morgan

    Helen Morgan is an Associate Editor at Devex. She has a background in human rights, radio and journalism, and has written for a variety of international publications while living and working in Buenos Aires, New York and Shanghai. She is now based in Barcelona and supports editorial content on campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. She is currently studying a master's degree in contemporary migration.
  • Mihara naomi

    Naomi Mihara

    Naomi Mihara is a Video Journalist for Devex, based in Barcelona. She has a background in journalism and international development, having previously worked as an assistant correspondent for Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and as a communications officer for the International Organization for Migration in Southeast Asia. She holds a master's degree in multimedia journalism from Bournemouth University.

Join the Discussion