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The Story of Urban Transformation

Colombia’s second largest city, Medellín has transformed itself in recent years to become a model for social and sustainable urban development. Through collaborations between planners, designers, city officials, and residents that are focused on the poorest and most isolated neighborhoods, the city has successfully used urban planning as a tool to create a more equitable and ecologically balanced community.

By centering new construction around schools, libraries, public transit, parks, and cultural centers, Medellín has witnessed a significant reduction in crime and unemployment while improving the quality of life for all its citizens. This page provides a deeper, layered look at Medellín’s many transformational projects, through GIS mapping and multimedia tools.


The sessions included two professional workshops held at the National University of Colombia, where our team introduced faculty, local officials, architects, and planners to the ins and outs of creating a dynamic mapping platform that visualizes multiple data types with citizen engagement at its core.

In the second workshop, the Urbinsight team introduced the organization’s core concepts, tools and methods underpinning the Urbinsight approach to GeoDesign — a means for planning built and natural environments in an integrated process, including stakeholder participation and collaboration, design creation, simulation, and evaluation.


Utilizing data layers and basemaps, participants learn how to assess the information drawn from government data in conjunction with citizen sourced data and high resolution imagery through Urbinsight’s Ecocity Information Models (ECIM).

Community Demo

Demos are two-day events during which participating schools and organizations coordinate workshops to collect data relevant to their neighborhood. Students share skills pertaining to Urban Metabolism Information System (UMIS), Geographical Information System (GIS), and Public Participation Techniques (PPT) learned in the workshops to community members in a study area defined according to the boundaries established during the Leadership Roundtable.

Teams are configured according to the different data collection methods and needs to establish baselines. Such needs include environmental assessments (e.g. air and water quality tests), quality of life questionnaires, as well as household and neighborhood audits of resource management (e.g. water demand, energy consumption).