The city of Barranquilla in Colombia has won the World Resources Institute’s US$250,000 grand prize for ensuring that 93% of its residents live within an eight-minute walk of a green space. An independent jury of urban leaders made the selection from among five finalists chosen from 260 applications representing 155 cities in 65 countries.
The city’s Todos al Parque (“Everyone to the Park”) initiative was started in 2011 as a bid to address economic decline and stagnation by recovering parks and plazas through a co-design process with local residents. It has since created nearly 1.5 million square meters of green areas.
“While Todos al Parque may have started as a parks project, it has revitalized the entire city’s landscape and improved the wellbeing of every person in Barranquilla, starting with those who needed it most,” said Ani Dasgupta, president and CEO of World Resources Institute. “Todos al Parque’s success is a timely reminder that inclusive and green spaces are essential to building urban resilience, from boosting local employment and public health to bringing communities closer together – on top of climate and biodiversity benefits. This public spaces-driven city revitalisation strategy is something every city can learn from.”
Within 100 meters of these parks, the City reports thefts have declined and local economies have flourished. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the parks system hosted testing and vaccinations sites, food markets, and activities such as outdoor fitness classes with more than 39,000 participants.
“This award belongs to all Barranquilleros who have co-created and backed this project for over a decade and continue to inspire transformative change across our city. Todos al Parque transformed communities and lives because we built them together,” said Jaime Pumarejo, mayor of the City of Barranquilla.