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A street of Medellíns is an environmentally friendly place. Solutions in C02 emission by renewable energy, mobility, waste and habitat.



The Project District Zero Plan  is part of the  Low Carbon City (LCC) initiative.

District Zero Plan  is made up for two components. The first is aimed to position the topic on the public agenda through free public activities (workshops, training, conferences and tactical urban actions) it is called MI BARRIO BAJO EN CARBONO “My Low Carbon Neighborhood”  METHODOLOGY; The second is aimed to build a Low Carbon City pilot in a zone of Medellín with a multi-stakeholders perspective, joining government, public sector, citizens and developing interventions in mobility, habitat, renewable energies and waste management; this component is called ECOZONA.

The initiative pretends to act as a “puzzle” starting with a small combination  between  a street, people living and working in the area, interventions; and finishing with a big plan which involves the participation of citizens, government and workers with education, training, workshops and actions on mobility, renewable energies, waste management and habitat.

The final objective is create a big sustainable community and giving two types of international certification, one for companies and the other one for places that meet all the points on Mi Barrio Bajo en Carbono Methodology and the actions to complete an ecozone.

What actions do you propose?

The physical actions are focused on the creation of public space by integrating four structural axes, allowing urban communities have spaces for entertainment and culture , whose construction and operation facilitate the actions to reduce negative impacts on natural resources, biodiversity and quality of life for people living in urban and rural nearby areas. These axes are:

  • Habitat (bioclimatic architecture, urban equipment and furniture)

  • Energy (use of renewable sources for public lighting, screens and devices)

  • Mobility (space and incentives for bikes, skates and public transport)

  • Waste management (waste reduction, separation at source, recycling and reuse of materials)

Physical actions


  • Installation of an “AIRBOL”: Device created by the company “ConTREEbute” in the city of Medellin, Colombia. It has the ability to purify 22.000 m3/h of polluted air (carbon monoxide, particulate material -PM2,5, PM10-, nitrogen oxides -NOx-, sulphur oxides -SOx-, viruses and bacteria), within an area with a diameter of 80 meters and 25 meters high (approximately the air that 60.000 persons breathe in one day). Nowadays there are two devices installed, one at Ruta N building and other one at Plaza Mayor.

  • Sowing of fruit trees and efficient CO2 fixing trees to create a little urban forest

  • Covering the pavement with lawn

  • Creation of green roofs and green walls in public establishments, small shops and houses.

  • Installation of pergolas that are covered with vines to provide shade in public space

  • Construction of a zero-waste grocery store

  • Installation of interactive maps and screens that show creative and educative videos

  • Installation of water public dispensers


  • Joining different modes of mobility (walk and bikes lines) with the city current public transportation system.

  • Walking trails.

  • Interactive maps to communicate the best route for each person in the zone.

  • Bike parking sites.

  • Sharing bike system.

  • Creating a public bicycles repair shop


  • Installation of photovoltaic panels or LED lamps to provide street lighting

  • Implementation of LED lighting in shops, restaurants, houses, institutions in the project area

  • Installation of devices that can produce electricity from movement of a person (like a gym)

  • Installation of solar station that allows recharging the batteries of cellphones, tablets, PC´s and electric vehicles (similar to the EAFIT University´s solar station) and allow to give space for expositions of culture information of the neighborhood to educate and inform.


  • Installation of a Reverse Vending Machine: a device that can exchange empty beverage container for money or points that can be redeemed at the purchase of food or Metro tickets.

    • Installation of post-consumer waste containers for batteries, compact fluorescent lamps, medicines, e-waste and domestic pesticides containers.

    • Create containers that allow separating at source solid waste according to their materials, so that they can be collected and reused for any entity that can take advantage of them in its production process.

    • Implementing a rainwater recovery system.

    Social actions

    The social actions are focused on the creation of awareness-raising strategies, communication and formation of communities more aware and critical of their actions, encouraging them to be part of the solution.

    Community and public discussion about urban planning and social networks

    • Conducting of initial diagnostic of the area (perception and citizen participation surveys, inventory of residences, companies, businesses and institutions in the sector, level of accessibility to public transport, consumption habits and waste management).

    • Creation of collaborative groups of neighbors, technicians and organizations for specific areas (coordination, activities planning, urban planning, education and communication, etc.)

    • Promotion of local consumption through the opening of farmers markets and the conducting of weekly events involving the trade of sustainable products and services.

    • Creation of a "Work Network Neighborhood" that allows valorizing and monetizing the skills of the inhabitants of the district, as well as enhancing social ties.

    Promoting Low Carbon Neighborhood Behaviours

    Through the creation of a guide about low carbon habits for restaurants, companies, shops and homes in the area, focusing on:

    • Reduction of consumption of bottled water, bags, packages, straws and plastic packaging.

    • Implementation of energy efficiency techniques in the zone (for example, reducing the number of bulbs and the duration of light burning, taking advantage of natural light and ventilation).

    • Savings techniques and reuse of water

    • Sustainable alternatives to the consumption of products for the home and personal care.

    Education, participation andawareness-raising: LowCarbonNeighborhood Workshops

    The workshops want to promote sustainable neighborhoods through different creative workshops and tactical urbanism with the citizen living in the neighborhood. Additionally, they want to systemize a methodology to replicate the project in other places. The workshops will have different products as results that contribute to the construction of low carbon neighborhoods by increasing sustainable customs of all involucrated actors. Also, the project looks for awareness-raising and education of the citizen about climate change and integrate them in the process as well as show them how they can be part of the solution.

    The topics of the different workshops are:

    • Promoting daily attitudes that take part of the solution: Consumption habits and sustainable behaviour

    • Portray the neighborhood that we dream

    • Circular economy: Solid waste: Reduce, reuse, recycle

    • Urban agriculture  

    • My neighborhood by bike

    The tools to vinculate the topics and create products to distribute are:

    • Photography and painting

    • Caricature

    • Video

    • Tactical urbanism

    Project aims:

    General aim: Creating an awareness about climate change themes and the role of the cities  and developing together participation strategies of solutions through the construction of the citizens own sustainable and low carbon neighborhood.

    Specific aims:

    • Administration of different workshops in climate change topics

    • Searching and managing of partners to realize the workshops in different sectors

    • Distributing of the results and products inside the community

    • Formulating a low carbon neighborhood campaign

    Restrictions in the Eco-zone:

    • Sale of bottled water, plastic straws and plastic bags

    • Vehicles circulation that use fossil fuels

Who will take these actions?


By the importance to improve educational quality; ethical, cultural and scientific dimension of environmental education; a national policy that consolidates lines of action in a sustainable environment. These kind of projects conducts to spaces for the development of research strategies and intervention that can increase the confidence of the citizens and the quality of life in the city.

Also giving its experience on involving pedagogical-didactic and interdisciplinary processes, designed to reflect critically on the ways of seeing, reasoning and interpreting; also on the working methods, approaches to knowledge and  vision and interaction between the different components of the environment.

Actions to  involve participation and community outreach.


Providing opportunities for people to escape from poverty, companies can contribute to solving specific development issues. The private sector can serve as a source of valuable experience and ability that helps find solutions, whether for educational, health, environmental issues, or the public goods supply. Already have an important role to fulfill in the defense and advancement of principles on human rights, labor, environmental and anti-corruption practices in countries with weak regulatory capacity.


Making a social mobilization for the collective construction of Low Carbon Cities through strategies, training,and promotion of urban innovations in sectors such as energy, transport, construction, industry, and resources. Citizen participation brings benefits on:

  • Brings the point of view of users / clients can improve projects and plans, and improve projects.

  • It demonstrates a commitment to effective and transparent management.

  • Enhances the role of agents,  increasing the general acceptance of the project.

  • Help and improves decision-making in all its phases.

  • You can avoid answering serious problems that delay or invalidate the project.

  • It facilitates the development of projects under construction.

Where will these actions be taken?

Medellin Downtown  is a benchmark for 1,500,000 people who daily pass through it, this corresponds to 40 % of the population of Aburrá Valley . Place of encounters, opportunities but also conflict. Place with enormous potential derived from its cultural, patrimonial and historical wealth; however, in the last two decades it has been showing very serious problems that are a reflection of the worst evils that afflict the city as a whole, such as unemployment, informality, insecurity, excessive waste disposal, pollution, deficiency in the public space  among others, that see the full extent in the 500 blocks that compose it. (Medellín Cómo Vamos, 2016)

The centers has a lot of representatives avenues and street. 90.000 people are focus on zones as La Playa and Ayacucho avenue traditional places for its history , cultural centers , educational institutions and trade, these places experiment the same problems. However  the great advantage sets on to rescue  monuments and sites where people want to attend, also joining those two emblematic streets of the city and use the recent tram as complement of sustainable transport.

La Playa is the most important corridor of the center of Medellin and many do not know under the street pases the creek Santa Elena and also it was the meeting place of the people of Medellin. "Progress" took her, was characterized as one of the most beautiful walks in the city -even  still it is so refreshing and pleasant to its own large green fronds of ceibas.

Ayacucho is full of contrasts. It was once called 'the street of bitterness' because there was parading funeral marches to the cemetery of San Lorenzo. It was also the street where the first aqueduct was built, the first school and the first university in the city. Ayacucho in the new icon in Medellín, the forget avenue, now connect the center by tram with the one of the poorest neighborhoods, giving people hope and transforming the place into security and giving them employment opportunities. 

How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?

Since the lack of information regarding to current emissions in the district is a constraint for the project, one of the main activities at the beginning is the measuring and establishment of a baseline in each sector.  Base on that and together with the actors involved, three scenarios for emissions reduction are going to be determined jointly according with the interventions and planned in each sector. It will have a proper following up.   

What are other key benefits?

  1. Ecozona: delimited and recognized area, where the public space is for people, it has air quality and environmental services.

  2. Concept of Sustainable Urban Design implemented in the defined project area.

  3. Sensitized and appropriated people by giving them  co-creation workshops, conferences, etc.

  4. Special regulations for motorized transport, waste management and clean energy.

  5. International recognition to help to promote the project in other cities: Be a model in Latin America and in the world, respecting the copyright of the actors involved.

  6. Project Marketing: Become a  place where companies want to belong to reaffirm their commitment to the environment and sustainability.

What are the proposal’s costs?

  1. Human Resources: $10.9540.954 USD

  2. Materials : $7200 USD

 3. Infrastructure investment: $15.000 USD We are going to divide this money in solar panels, led public illumination and urban mobiliary.

Total: $33.154 USD

Negative side effects: we do not have money to maintaining and evaluate this project in long term for that reason we need the support of government and actors,  preferably companies. We also want to ensure those who are engaged,  primarily citizens.

Specific costs table in this link

Time line

  1. Short Term: community empower mainly by  teaching  new skills  with the objective to make them feel strength and confidence.

Actions in the social sphere :

  • this period activities related to education , empowerment and participation of the community will be developed.

  • A guide on sustainable habits for homes, businesses, institutions and stores in the zone will be created.

  • The first restrictions related to the sale and use of bags , straws and plastic containers shall be adopted, as vehicles circulation

  • Creation and develop of space to local markets

Actions in the the physical scope:

Partnership between neighbors, citizens groups, businesses and local government units (such as Secretariat of Public Space and Secretariat of Environment), intervention will initially take place in the zone:

  • Management of a photovoltaic system for public lighting.

  • Design of green spaces

  • Attainment of containers for specific waste

  • Management of public water dispensers

  • Delimitation and signaling of footpaths and bike path

  • Creation of parking for bicycles

  • Replace conventional bulbs with LED bulbs

    1. Medium term: Make a mutual empowerment between the community and the companies from the sector

    Actions: more level of culture, education and in the zone, we expect:

    • Construction  several  Zero-Waste grocery store.

    • To have developed systems capture and reuse of rainwater in buildings

    • Start expansion and development of other ecodistricts in the city

    • fairs, festivals and events that focus on sustainability

    Develop of a public politic for Ecodistricts

    1. Long term: Combination of the three main actors, citizens, the private sector and government.

    Actions: For this period it is expected that Medellin is a referent of Eco-city, whose practices in urbanism, construction, education, energy consumption, trade, social development and preservation of natural resources; will be made strictly on the basis of the principles of sustainability.


Related proposals

The Low Carbon Cities program is inspired by the UN’s 2030 Agenda for SDG as well as the recently adopted UNFCCC Paris Agreement that both stress the importance of cities to mitigate climate change.

It is a Citizen-led initiative which promotes a social mobilization for the collective construction of Low Carbon Cities through awareness and communication strategies, training, and promotion of urban innovations in different sectors such as energy, transport, construction, industry and waste. Within the project we emphasize tools that generate participation of, cooperation between as well as ownership of citizens, the public and the private sector alike.

Our objective is: We are all part of the solution!


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  • McCormick, K., Anderberg, S., Cenen, L. and Niel, L. (2013). Advancing Sustainable Urban Transformation.

  • Voytenko, Y., McComick, L., Evans, J. and Schliwa, G. (2016). Exploring Urban Living Labs for Sustainability and Low Carbon Cities in Europe.

  • Report, WFF. (2012). Reinventing the city: Three prerequisites for greening urban infrastructure.

  • (2016). ECOURBANO. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Min, Am. (2016). Programa Posconsumo - información general | Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible. [online] Available at:[Accessed 23 May 2016].