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2018 MCHAP

Medellin River Parks Phase 1A

Sebastian Monsalve Gomez & Juan David Hoyos

Medellin, Colombia

August 2016


Sebastián Monsalve Gómez & Juan David Hoyos Juan David Hoyos


Consorcio DIS – EDL (MEPF Engineer) Nicolás Hermelín (Landscape Architect)


Medellín Town Hall



Currently, the Aburrá Valley is not articulated to the public spaces network, it is kept in places that rarely are open and free to people, like the botanical garden, protected hills, streams without trails for people to walk, private schools, among others. Therefore, the project is a structural response to the biotic network of the city of Medellin, proposing the river as a structuring axis, taking advantage of its natural hierarchy to create a botanical park that articulates the natural systems of the city in a broader environment within the territory, also strengthening the isolated green areas by connecting them with the network environmental structured by River Parks. Through its design and program, the park aims to develop an environmental awareness in the visitor, while preserving and reintroducing native species for articulation to surrounding circles networks. Each road, boulevard and open space has a group of spieces that put together activities, people and nature, as well as forgotten structures that complement the new uses and revitalize the river bank to recover the citizens idea of the river more beyond water channel, and recognize its natural and environmental importance.


River Parks includes the design of 17 km of public space, divided into eight stages of construction. Stage 1A inaugurated in 2016 is located in the center of the city on the west bank of the river, near a neighborhood called Conquistadores and seeks to connect with the civic center where the metropolitan museum, the EPM (public company of energy) and administrative offices. The river divides the city in two and is limited by its valley condition. On the banks of the river, historically, large vehicular roads have been located, which not only divided the city physically and socially, but also biologically. In this way, the river is a sewer, channeled and with its natural conditions affected. The project aims to integrate engineering, urban planning and landscape, to create a recomposition of the urban, environmental and social fabric of the entire city, promoting sustainable urban development, and in turn recovering the citizen and water memory of the Aburrá Valley. It is the mechanism to overcome the river as a wall that fractures and divides the city, creating an integrated territory with its natural systems and its inhabitants.


As the main link in urban change, the program takes into account multiple uses and activities along the river and highlights the particular characteristics of each neighborhood. New areas of the public space are made available to citizens, since the section of the park has underground infrastructures for cars, leaving the first level free, and generating boulevards and connections to both banks of the river. River Parks promotes a change in urbanization in the expansion plan of the city that seeks the densification of the urban nucleus, creating a high value of public areas and spaces with a more sustainable approach. It also connects the biotic network of the city to protect it from rapid urban growth, since the project in its design is a space that evokes nature in an urban context. Pedestrian and bicycle connection circuits are created, improving the quality of the air and the habitability of the city. The neighborhoods have been integrated, the river banks have ceased to be a barrier and have become the new space for the citizen encounters; They are an urban opportunity that changes the way 2.5 million inhabitants of Medellín are realated.

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