Green Belt Limits Sprawl and Boosts Food Security

By constructing a greenbelt around the city, Medellín is containing urban sprawl, while creating more parkland and improving food security.

Medellín’s city greening project, the Metropolitan Green Belt, is tackling sprawl while creating recreational areas, parkland, and food growing spaces. The city has so far planted more than 120,000 native plants and trees on 85 hectares of land. Of this rehabilitated land, nearly 2,500 m2 has been transformed into terraced gardens, mitigating risks of climate change by better protecting the land, and the residents who live on it, from landslides while providing residents with spaces to grow food. The Green Belt also seeks to better connect existing residents to the city by upgrading informal homes and introducing public services and transit options in the settlements at the urban edge. The city aims to involve locals as much as possible in the project’s planning and execution, having so far provided employment to more than 5,000 residents.

Relevance of solution

Medellín’s social inequality is visible in the landscape, as many low-income residents occupy unsafe land, prone to landslides, on steep slopes on the outskirts of the city. With the Metropolitan Green Belt project, the city seeks to provide safer living conditions for its marginalized groups, while also protecting the city’s crucial natural resources.

Triple Bottom Line


More than 100,000 native plants and trees planted as part of the project are helping to restore ecosystems on sloping edges of the city.


The project has engaged more than 64,000 community members, and the project’s agroecological gardens have benefitted more than 300 families.


The project seeks to improve livelihoods and encourage entrepreneurship among the city’s marginalized residents.