The city of Medellín, Colombia and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) have launched an innovative programme to enhance the processes of urban redevelopment in the city.
UN-Habitat and the city of Medellin have partnered to pilot inclusive land readjustment. In the photo, UN-Habitat's Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos greets Medellin's Director of the Housing and Habitat Institute, Mr. Diego Restrepo, after the signing of the agreement. © UN-Habitat/Julius Mwelu
The programme aims to help the city undertake more participatory and inclusive processes when redeveloping its neighbourhoods through land readjustment. Conventional land readjustment used in developed countries is a technique whereby a group of neighbouring landowners are combined in a partnership for the unified planning, servicing and subdivision of their land with the project costs and benefits being shared between the landowners and public authorities.
This initiative, named Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment (PILaR), aims at helping cities implement a conventional land management tool, land readjustment, in a more participatory and pro-poor manner, where everyone in the given neighbourhood – including the poorest and most vulnerable – has a role to play, is treated with dignity and can stay in the neighbourhood once this is redeveloped. This tool is deemed necessary for urban extension and densification.
"The land readjustment we want to pilot is a complex technique but one that will bear many fruits to the citizens of Medellín, as it should help Medellín become a more compact, inclusive and well integrated city" said Dr. Joan Clos, UN-Habitat's Executive Director, during the signing of the agreement. He also stated: "I thank the city of Medellín and the Governments of Spain, Norway and Sweden for their contributions to make this project a reality and the government of Colombia for its continuous support". During the event, Diego Restrepo, Director of the Institute of Housing and Habitat of Medellín highlighted: "Medellín is very happy to join efforts with UN-Habitat to go a step further in creating innovative experiences and in making the city more inclusive".
As the world becomes increasingly urban (today 50% of the world population lives in towns and cities and by 2030 it is estimated that 60% will do so according to UN-Habitat analyses), national governments and local authorities are in urgent need of tools to help them build sustainable cities at scale, addressing the numerous challenges of current patters: inequalities, spatial segregation, slums, urban sprawl or environmental degradation. In response to that, the United Nations urban agency has recently introduced the Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment (PILaR) as a new service for national governments and local authorities.
UN-Habitat and the city of Medellin have partnered to pilot inclusive land readjustment. In the photo, UN-Habitat's Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos signs the project agreement together with Medellin's Director of the Housing and Habitat Institute, Mr. Diego Restrepo.© UN-Habitat/Julius Mwelu
This new way of undertaking land readjustment is expected to assist developing countries undertake orderly and proactive horizontal city extension as well as infill and neighbourhood redevelopment. In contexts where formal land markets and compulsory land acquisition methods are not working efficiently, PILaR can unlock the high potential of cities in developing countries.
The rich experience that Medellín already has in urban development programmes and its political will have been critical when negotiating the location of the pilot. In addition, this project will build on the existing legislation in Colombia and Medellin, and help the city implement it to its full capacity.
The objective is to advance global knowledge on how to undertake land readjustment successfully in developing and middle income countries so that other cities in Colombia, and throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia can replicate this pilot through South-South cooperation.
The global pilot of PILaR of two million USD (with contributions from the two institutions) will be implemented in an area in Medellín where owners and residents will participate voluntarily. When completed, Medellín will get an increased supply of serviced urban land for city densification, it will formalize and service the selected neighbourhood incrementally and as much as possible, it will be able to self-finance most of the urban development in the area. More importantly, the city will be able to build a stronger, more inclusive and participatory urban governance where transparency and inclusivity will lead its urban redevelopment plans. After this project is finalised, scheduled for December 2014, public and private investors will implement the agreed land-use plan and build the new neighbourhood.