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Grabbed Urban Landscapes: Socio‐spatial Tensions in Green Infrastructure Planning in Medellín


  • Isabelle Anguelovski
  • Clara Irazábal‐Zurita
  • James J.T. Connolly


Cities confronted with unsustainable development and climatic changes are increasingly turning to green infrastructure as an approach for growth and climate risk management. In this context, recent scholarly attention has been paid to gentrification, real‐estate speculation and resident displacement in the context of sustainability and green planning in the global North. Yet we know little about the environmental‐justice implications of green infrastructure planning in the context of self‐built settlements of the global South. To what extent do green infrastructure interventions produce or exacerbate urban socio‐spatial inequities in self‐built settlements? Through the analysis of a greenbelt project, an emblematic case of green infrastructure planning in Medellín, we argue that, as the Municipality of Medellín is containing and beautifying low‐income neighborhoods through grabbing part of their territories and turning them into green landscapes of privilege and pleasure, communities are becoming dispossessed of their greatest assets—location, land and social capital. In the process, community land is transformed into a new form of aesthetically controlled and ordered nature for the middle and upper classes and for tourists. By contrast, communities’ planning alternatives reveal how green planning can better address growth and climate risks in tandem with equitable community development.

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Anguelovski & Clara Irazábal‐Zurita & James J.T. Connolly, 2019. "Grabbed Urban Landscapes: Socio‐spatial Tensions in Green Infrastructure Planning in Medellín," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 133-156, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijurrs:v:43:y:2019:i:1:p:133-156
    DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12725

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    Cited by:

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    2. Sofia Olivero-Lora & Elvia Meléndez-Ackerman & Luis Santiago & Raúl Santiago-Bartolomei & Diana García-Montiel, 2019. "Attitudes toward Residential Trees and Awareness of Tree Services and Disservices in a Tropical City," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(1), pages 1-21, December.
    3. Bojan Grum & Darja Kobal Grum, 2023. "Urban Resilience and Sustainability in the Perspective of Global Consequences of COVID-19 Pandemic and War in Ukraine: A Systematic Review," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(2), pages 1-16, January.
    4. Danielle Zoe Rivera, 2021. "Design in Planning: Reintegration through Shifting Values," Urban Planning, Cogitatio Press, vol. 6(1), pages 93-104.
    5. Marco Cruz-Sandoval & María Isabel Ortego & Elisabet Roca, 2020. "Tree Ecosystem Services, for Everyone? A Compositional Analysis Approach to Assess the Distribution of Urban Trees as an Indicator of Environmental Justice," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(3), pages 1-21, February.
    6. Martí, Pablo & García-Mayor, Clara & Nolasco-Cirugeda, Almudena & Serrano-Estrada, Leticia, 2020. "Green infrastructure planning: Unveiling meaningful spaces through Foursquare users’ preferences," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C).
    7. Elizabeth Gearin & Carletta S. Hurt, 2024. "Making Space: A New Way for Community Engagement in the Urban Planning Process," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(5), pages 1-18, February.
    8. Kristin Kjærås, 2024. "The politics of urban densification in Oslo," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 61(1), pages 40-57, January.
    9. Jean C. Bikomeye & Sima Namin & Chima Anyanwu & Caitlin S. Rublee & Jamie Ferschinger & Ken Leinbach & Patricia Lindquist & August Hoppe & Lawrence Hoffman & Justin Hegarty & Dwayne Sperber & Kirsten , 2021. "Resilience and Equity in a Time of Crises: Investing in Public Urban Greenspace Is Now More Essential Than Ever in the US and Beyond," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(16), pages 1-39, August.
    10. Fernando Chapa & María Perez Rubi & Jochen Hack, 2023. "A Systematic Assessment for the Co-Design of Green Infrastructure Prototypes—A Case Study in Urban Costa Rica," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(3), pages 1-18, January.
    11. Leah H. Schinasi & Helen V. S. Cole & Jana A. Hirsch & Ghassan B. Hamra & Pedro Gullon & Felicia Bayer & Steven J. Melly & Kathryn M. Neckerman & Jane E. Clougherty & Gina S. Lovasi, 2021. "Associations between Greenspace and Gentrification-Related Sociodemographic and Housing Cost Changes in Major Metropolitan Areas across the United States," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(6), pages 1-24, March.

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