Global Challenge, Global Solutions: Medellín’s Metropolitan Green Belt

By con­struct­ing a green­belt around the city, Medellín is con­tain­ing urban sprawl, while cre­at­ing more park­land and im­prov­ing food se­cur­ity.

“Global Challenge, Global Solutions” is a series hosted on Climasphere highlighting inspiring, innovative, and creative global solutions to the challenge of climate change in the lead up to the next major climate conference, COP22. These solutions have been provided by members of the Earth To Marrakech coalition, a group of more than 50 media organizations, civil society groups, and businesses from around the world who are raising their voices in a collective call to move from words to action on climate change. Let’s send a message, from Earth To Marrakech: The solutions to climate change are out there, and they’re inspiring. 

Green Belt Limits Sprawl and Boosts Food Security


Medellín’s city green­ing pro­ject, the Met­ro­pol­itan Green Belt, is tack­ling sprawl while cre­at­ing re­cre­ational areas, park­land, and food grow­ing spaces. The city has so far planted more than 120,000 nat­ive plants and trees on 85 hec­tares of land. Of this re­hab­il­it­ated land, nearly 2,500 m2 has been transformed into terraced gardens, mit­ig­at­ing risks of cli­mate change by bet­ter pro­tect­ing the land, and the res­id­ents who live on it, from land­slides while provid­ing res­id­ents with spaces to grow food. The Green Belt also seeks to bet­ter con­nect ex­ist­ing res­id­ents to the city by up­grad­ing in­formal homes and in­tro­du­cing pub­lic ser­vices and transit op­tions in the set­tle­ments at the urban edge. The city aims to involve locals as much as possible in the project’s planning and execution, hav­ing so far provided em­ploy­ment to more than 5,000 res­id­ents.

Medellín’s so­cial in­equal­ity is vis­ible in the land­scape, as many low-in­come res­id­ents oc­cupy un­safe land, prone to land­slides, on steep slopes on the out­skirts of the city. With the Met­ro­pol­itan Green Belt pro­ject, the city seeks to provide safer liv­ing con­di­tions for its mar­gin­al­ized groups, while also pro­tect­ing the city’s cru­cial nat­ural re­sources.



More than 100,000 nat­ive plants and trees planted as part of the pro­ject are help­ing to re­store eco­sys­tems on slop­ing edges of the city.

The pro­ject has en­gaged more than 64,000 com­munity mem­bers, and the pro­ject’s agroe­co­lo­gical gar­dens have be­ne­fit­ted more than 300 fam­il­ies.

The pro­ject seeks to im­prove live­li­hoods and en­cour­age en­tre­pren­eur­ship among the city’s mar­gin­al­ized res­id­ents.

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