In 2013, our students participated in a field trip to Medellín (Colombia); this year, our co-director Sandra Bestraten travelled back to the Colombian city to take part in the 7th World Urban Forum, from the 5th to the 11th of April, as part of a cooperation project of the Unesco Chair (UPC, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya).
The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a non-legislative technical forum convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), hosted in a different city every two years (it was held in Barcelona exactly ten years ago, in 2004). It examines the most pressing issues facing the world today in the area of human settlements, including rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, economies, climate change and policies. According to the organization, this year has been a complete success, with over 22,000 people assiting the convention.
The conference’s theme this year was “Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life”, a motto reflected by the project undergoing in Morro de Moravia since 2009, with the participation of city of Barcelona, to turn a dump where 15,000 used to live in a urban garden. In a slow and talkative process of relocation of the families and involving local population, turned “a 35 meters high mountain of 10 acres, with all kinds of uncontrolled wastes accumulated during the 70’s and 80’s, into a multicolor green area” declared Sandra Bestraten, member of the Unesco Chair who drove this project.
Thanks to the now available technology for gas fumes’ control and treatment, the 1.5 million tons of dumps are now covered by a thin and still fragile layer of earth and plantations; the so called “Mujeres de Moravia”, some twenty women who used to live there, take care of the growing plants and flowers, including an experimental garden for commercial purpose. This example of urban transformation is another of some reasons why we should pay attention to Medellín.