Future-forming interdisciplinary research

Towards a liveable urban environment: Health equity, infrastructure and urban policies in Cali, Colombia

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Workshop with local academics, planning and local authorities: Report

3-5 April 2019, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia

This April, a group of researchers from the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL, and the Institute for Social Futures, Lancaster University, ran a two-day workshop with local academics, planning and other authorities in Cali, Colombia to discuss their project Caliveable: Towards a Liveable Urban Environment. The pilot study is funded by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, USA, and is led by Dr Daniel Oviedo Hernández (UCL). One of the aims of the study is to develop a tool that captures and measures the effect that the planning of a new Green Corridor has on public health in Cali, the third largest city in Colombia, with a population of 2,3 m inhabitants in 2018. The local partners include the School of Public Health, Universidad del Valle and a range of local activist and green initiatives as well as planning authorities. The tool, designed using the platform Maptionnaire, will allow the local partners to determine key social and spatial factors related to health equity and liveability in the immediate vicinity of the Green Corridor. The tool uses GIS and built-in drawing tools through which survey respondents are encouraged to provide important social and spatial data in relation to the Corridor. The tool (in Spanish) can be accessed here: Calidoscopio.

First section of the Green Corridor running along the Escuela Militar de Aviación Marco Fidel Suárez (left on the photo), the local branch of the Colombian Air Force Academy.

The Green Corridor, an initiative of Cali’s previous administration, seeks to adapt an existing railway line and its surrounding area – crossing the city from north to south – and turn it into the main vehicle to plan a more sustainable and equitable future for the city. The planned Corridor consists of six sections and has a length of 17,5 km. One of the proposals connected to it is the reactivation of the railway, for goods and passengers, so that it serves a larger metropolitan area centred on Cali itself, and including three adjacent municipalities, Yumbo, Palmira and Jamundi. In light of this, Anniversary Lecturer, Dr Carlos López Galviz, presented his work on the relationship between cities and railways in nineteenth-century Europe, based on the recent publication of his book Cities, Railways, Modernities: London, Paris and the Nineteenth Century.

The study runs until the end of 2019. Proposals for new related collaborative projects are currently being developed with the partners involved.

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