Arup was commissioned by FINDETER, a development bank in Colombia, and the British Embassy in Bogotá to develop a public spaces masterplan for the city of Barranquilla.
The city is currently part of the Sustainable Cities Programme of the Inter-American Development Bank, under which a city wide action plan has been developed to tackle climate change adaptation, economic resilience, and urban development through the preparation and implementation of strategic projects driven by the public sector.
According to studies conducted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), healthy cities are those that have the greatest number of green spaces, as they encourage people to practice exercise and have greater life satisfaction. Currently, Barranquilla has a public space deficit of about 0.86m²/inhabitant and proposing strategies to reverse this scenario was the main challenge faced by Arup’s team. The masterplan strategies were based on four key concepts: the direct connection between open public spaces and the improvement of population health; urban mobility and the assurance of total population inclusion; the city reconnection with Magdalena River; and the ecological balance and environmental mitigation risks faced by the residents.
The public space proposal strategy creation combines actions from local to urban scales. It involves new parks designed to be developed within the neighbourhoods, to encourage physical activity, and provides community spaces to the entire population of different genders and ages; provides meeting places for the local community; offers new public areas close to the river and streams, allowing access to the river Magdalena and improving waterfront areas; and develops green corridors to connect public spaces throughout the city to improve urban mobility and accessibility.