22.06 - 17.09 Barcelona

Ideas, strategies and projects that give rise to pilot projects. They tackle the challenges raised by the stakeholders involved and which are found in particular places in Barcelona or Medellín.

Decoding formal / informal binaries

Binary approaches constitute an epistemological obstacle to addressing the complexity and uncertainty of hyper-transformative urban realities. Proposals for comprehensive improvement of neighbourhoods in Medellin have proven to be insufficient. To overcome these limitations, this proposal suggests two guiding concepts: a) negotiated coproduction of space, and b) popular housing as a process. The first concept proposes recognising the political nature of the production of urban space, the asymmetry of power relations of the actors involved, and the differential capacities in knowledge of the territory among those intervening in socio-spatial transformations. The second regards dwelling space as a space-time continuum.

More than a commodity that can be used for transaction or a finished product, popular housing is a living space subject to the ongoing process of consolidation and adaptation to the economic cycles of homes and their demographic dynamics. This means that dwelling space is multiple and flexible as a key element in the vitality and productivity of neighbourhood economies.

Three criteria were identified as decisive for the construction of an alternative strategy of territorial negotiation: 1) Multi-actor, to take into account the multiplicity of agents, with their respective interests and narratives. 2) Multi-dimensional, to connect the diversity of territorial attributes and socio-technical knowledge. 3) Multiscale, to draw together the different levels of competencies and geographical relations that converge and impact on territorial interventions.

At the same time, the proposal defines three geographies of differential intervention according to levels of infrastructure and consolidation of the housing stock, and their socio-economic and morphologic conditions: a) upper slope, a strip that is a key urban-rural interface for environmental services, the management of urban growth and risk, and the generation of metropolitan public space; b) mid-slope, a strip of average consolidation with the potential for linkage in the form of transport infrastructure, inter-neighbourhood connectivity and communal facilities, and c) lower slope, a strip that has improved connection with the central areas and greater potential for a build-up of housing and mixed use.


Catalina Ortiz
Exdirectora de la Escuela de Planeación Urbano-Regional y la Maestría en Estudios Urbano Regionales de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín.

Consejo de gestión y planeación de la Comuna 8

Escuela de Planeación Urbano-Regional de Medellín - UNAL


Right to the city


Comuna 8, Medellín