“Todos al Parque”, a world-class program that changed lives in Barranquilla

Barranquilla was the only Latin American city that was nominated as a finalist for the 2023 Prize for Cities and was elected winner against 260 international proposals for creating a high social impact program.

On February 1st, 2023 in the city of New York (USA), the mayor of Barranquilla, Jaime Pumarejo, received the Prize for Cities, an acknowledgment from the World Resources Institute (WRI) for the local “Todos al Parque” program and its impact on urban development, social inclusion, and urban safety.

The program was awarded the prize in the category for most innovative urban transformation worldwide.

To read the note in Spanish click here

Barranquilla competed with more than 260 applications from 155 cities worldwide and with an independent jury of urbanism leaders. The city was among the five finalists for the award with other public programs of Paris (France), Iloilo (Philippines), Odisha (India), and Peshawar (Pakistan).

“We receive this award on behalf of thousands of barranquilleros who work to make our public parks a space for social inclusion. Today, the program has been recognized as a world-class project that has changed many lives. We couldn’t be happier with our collaborators and neighborhood leaders who participated in the co-creation of this program. For all those children who smile when they see those parks and our army of park rangers who give their all to maintain the beauty of our parks. We are happy because today we are recognized as a city that invests well its tax money, that takes care of its own, and where it is commonly said: it’s worth dreaming.” (Pumarejo, 2023).

In addition to worldwide recognition, the grand prize includes USD 250,000 award for social impact programs in the city. According to the World Resources Institute-WRI, Barranquilla won for the program´s strategy and how it demonstrated that local public investment enhanced spatial and equitable distribution of public spaces and green areas in the city, and how green and inclusive spaces generated urban resilience, increased employability, improved public health and generate social cohesion.

The “Todos al Parque” program has created more than 1.9 million square meters of public space and green areas, with more than 280 interventions distributed throughout the city. Through these interventions, the program ensured that 93% of households had a recovered park within less than 8-minute walking distance, thefts were reduced by an average of 15% in a 150-meter radius, and the improvement of tax payment culture near a recovered park.

How was this urban transformation possible in Barranquilla?

The “Todos al Parque” program has been successful because it followed the following guidelines:

  • A long-term public policy that allowed its continuity in the last 14 years.
  • A coordinating team was defined as led by the District Infrastructure Agency (ADI), which is in charge of coordinating park renewals and maintenance activities.
  • Interventions by phases.
  • A defined execution scheme.
  • Community participation in all stages.
  • Constant maintenance and park ranger equipment.
  • Local financing.
  • City vision for a long-term park system.

For more information on the “Todos al Parque” program, click here.

*The World Resource Institute is a global, non-governmental, research organization that seeks to create conditions of equity and prosperity through the sustainable management of natural resources. They focus on seven main areas: climate, clean energy, food security, forests, water, sustainable cities, and oceans. In 2014, the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities was created.