Repensando el transporte urbano: la bicicleta como elemento esencial

La bicicleta está de moda, afirmó Carlos Felipe Pardo, director ejecutivo de: Despacio (@deespacio) al comienzo de su presentación. Y no hablaba en vano, las estadísticas que nos mostró así lo demostraba. Entre los estudiantes universitarios de Bogotá, el uso de este medio de transporte alcanza el 17%, mientras que en la población joven en general (hasta 30 años) es del 35%, lo que nos indica que en este segmento de la población el uso refleja no solo interés, sino también necesidad. En todo caso, la alta utilización es una oportunidad para los responsables de las tomas de decisión municipales y desarrolladores urbanos de fomentar el uso de este medio de transporte. Las ventajas son obvias: no es contaminante, reduce la congestión y la presión sobre los transportes públicos, y es sumamente económico. Read more.

Mayor's Roundtable: Urban Equity and the New Urban Agenda

Cheikh Gueye, the Deputy Mayor, Dakar, Senegal, opened the roundtable by emphasizing the impact that being a mayor has on transforming leaders: "it’s so demanding, so complex, and yet so fulfilling." She also asked the other mayors whether they have a "Medellin urban forum," or a "Nairobi, or Dakar urban forum" — a space in which local actors can share and learn from each other, just like we're doing here at WUF7. The Mayor of Medellin, Aníbal Gaviria Correa, called for strengthening the role of mayors: mayors should be part of the main institutions that guide and manage nations, especially considering that urbanization rates will reach 75 percent in just a few years. Read more.

Reforestando las ciudades: ventajas y retos

Quizá el beneficio más obvio de los bosques urbanos y periurbanos sea su inmenso aporte estético y recreativo: los parques son los pulmones, el jardín de juegos, incluso el alma de las grandes ciudades de los países más desarrollados. Sin embargo, estas no son sus únicas ventajas, sobre todo a nivel global. En muchos casos su mantenimiento y revitalización son cruciales para garantizar el suministro de agua, incluso ayudar a proveer de combustibles básicos, y mantener el equilibrio ecológico en amplias regiones periurbanas. Con estas ideas comenzó su presentación Fabio Salbitano, de la Universidad de Florencia, en el panel sobre Ciudades Verdes en el WUF7. Pero la creación de áreas verdes no se da por casualidad, añadió, debe ser parte integral de los procesos de decisión, en un modelo de planeamiento que deje de estar centrado en las ciudades y pasar a tener un carácter sistémico y protector del medio ambiente. Read more.

World Urban Forum 7 Opening Ceremony

The World Urban Forum in Medellin officially started on Monday night with an exciting opening ceremony. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon kicked off the evening with a video address in which he emphasized rising inequality in cities: "We need inclusive development to eradicate extreme poverty." Medellin's mayor, Aníbal Gaviria Correa, described his city as an example of resiliency, and explained that effective solutions come from a combination of effective government and strong civil society. The governor of Antioquia, Sergio Fajardo, emphasized his goal of human dignity, and welcomed all WUF7 participants, mentioning that nice weather had been planned for us! Read more.

Empowering the young in Medellín

Colombian mega star Juanes was at WUF7 today. He did not come to promote his latest hit CD. Instead, he chaired the World Urban Youth Assembly and promoted the project I am a City Changer. This project, sponsored by UN-HABITAT, seeks to identify, share, and spread worldwide initiatives to improve global cities. These initiatives can be private, public, or even individual. So far 275 initiatives have been published on the program's official site. Read more.

WUF7: Building alliances, beating climate change, and disrupting 'the tyranny of experts'

This morning's WUF7 Business Assembly featured four powerhouse speakers from the world of urban development: Medellín Mayor Anibal Gaviria Correa; Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation; Michael Bloomberg, three-term Mayor of New York City and UN Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change; and Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, the United Nations organization behind the World Urban Forum. Read more.

Medellín Urban Lab Tour

On Monday, URB.im had the opportunity to participate in a guided tour of urban transformation projects in the city of Medellín. The tour took place in Comuna 13, once an epicenter of crime and violence. Today, in part thanks to these initiatives — all of them aspects of the Proyecto Urbano Integral (PUI—Integral Urban Project) — the neighborhood has been transformed. Read more.

Social media, a powerful tool, hungry for resources

There was a common theme in yesterday's Digital Media Academy: although social media channels are relatively easy and inexpensive to set up, in the medium and long term they require significant resources, and in particularly skilled individuals who communicate regularly and in message. For Benjamin Krause, J/P Haitian Relief Organization (@JPHRO), if you do not post regularly, others will do it for you on your social media channels, and perhaps distort your message. Targeting your audience is key to success. Beware of "free," it is often slow or too limited. The J/P Haitian Relief Organization uses social media for communicating and fundraising. Read more.

Welcome to WUF7

Hello from the World Urban Forum 7 (WUF7) conference in Medellín, Colombia! All this week, the Urb.im team — Jorge Bela, Josephine d'Allant, and Mark Durham — will be blogging live from Medellín to bring you the latest from WUF7, the world's premier conference on cities, which runs from 5-11 April. Urb.im has also partnered with UN-HABITAT, the organizer of the WUF7 conference, to bring you a series of e-Debates related to the themes of this year's conference. Watch this space all this week for dispatches, reports, ideas, and insights from the sessions here in Medellín!