Towards the Human City: La Ciudad Verde


Creative Sustainability Makes Green Activism More Accessible

La Ciudad Verde is a collective movement in Colombia that promotes sustainable cities and regions. The organization collaborates with community stakeholders who work toward sustainable development.

Seeking to improve sustainable policies, La Ciudad Verde was born in Medellin, Colombia to build a bridge between citizens and politicians. Today, the organization is a key player in sustainable Colombian development, with a presence in major cities, including Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Manizales, Villavicencio, Barranquilla, Quibdó. 

Towards the Human City: La Ciudad Verde
Still from "La Ciudad Verde" | Towards the Human City

In 2011 the movement led the formation of an agreement for sustainable cities and regions (Pacto por Ciudades Sostenibles — Regiones Sustentables). During the regional election season, La Ciudad Verde posed a challenge to both, political candidates and the citizens voting for them: How do we commit to a sustainability agenda for the city? "We asked politicians," explained La Ciudad Verde Founder Carlos Cadena, "'Send us the objective indicators and we'll measure them in a relative manner with national and international experts, and we'll give a prize to the cities advancing towards sustainability in the most positive way.'" More than 300 candidates and citizens participated in the agreement.

The organization believes in the importance of inclusive debate and encourages citizens to get involved in making their cities more livable. Its initiatives call for a more sustainable urban agenda while shifting cultural perceptions around transportation. Among these initiatives is one that been replicated several times. Using social media to promote events, La Ciudad Verde has organized citizens to make bike lanes in their cities more useable. Many people have gathered at the popular events, where they paint the connecting lanes themselves. Gaining media coverage and positive community reaction, the events have led city authorities to seek out La Ciudad to work with the organization on bike lane policy. 

In a related campaign, La Ciudad Verde has harnessed the power of celebrity to encourage people to use bicycles instead of cars. In March 2013, many famous Colombians, such as footballers, politicians, models, and actors used electric bikes for a day. They shared their experience on social media to inspire people to use more bicycles in their day-to-day life.

In addition to bicycle culture, La Ciudad Verde also focuses on pedestrians. The group brought attention to the lack of pedestrian crossings in Colombian cities by painting pedestrian figures wearing crowns on a street that needed a pedestrian crossing. As a result, a month later, the local authorities painted a real crossing there.

La Ciudad Verde has become a national movement in Colombia that integrates the work of different regional actors promoting sustainability. Every day they work to make Colombian cities more sustainable together with citizens.

Towards the Human City: La Ciudad Verde
Still from "La Ciudad Verde" | Towards the Human City


Towards the Human City logo (small)Produced by CAD Productions and supported by UCLG, the Towards the Human City video series and related articles were created to showcase the individuals and initiatives that are transforming cities and making them more human.

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