Colombia Country Synthesis Report

Local Evidence
Towards Urban Sustainability in Latin America

Lessons from research in Colombia and Latin America, with implications for global policy and practice.

With the right development approaches, Latin American cities can become hubs that relieve poverty and drive regional growth. PEAK Urban identifies the proactive policies and interventions that can produce efficient, productive, inclusive and sustainable urban futures.


Build effective partnerships across levels, sectors and disciplines.

By developing strong cross-sectoral, multi-level and multi-disciplinary partnerships, urban actors can diagnose urban challenges and formulate effective solutions.

Use open access data sources and new methods of analysis.

Where administrative data is scarce or unreliable, planners can use multiple data sources to make visible the working of the city. 

Local authorities should investigate the potential of open access data and analysis for applications such as:

  • forecasting urban growth,
  • understanding informal economic activity
  • and assessing seismic risk.
Colombia Country Synthesis Report

Use urban form and layout to support diverse objectives.

Dense cities offer benefits for health, mobility, productivity and sustainability. City-level administrators should understand how urban form affects citizens' health, behaviour and economic activity, and what interventions will increase sustainability.

Build on knowledge from diverse sources.

Policymakers at all levels should build on the widest possible knowledge base to inform action, including the knowledge and views of communities gained through ethnographic enquiry alongside evidence from data analysis, and input from subject-matter experts and other stakeholders.

Use the PEAK approach to investigate complex urban issues.

The PEAK framework is particularly useful to underpin planning on complex, multi-faceted urban issues such as economic development. The approach can be used to diagnose barriers and enablers to productivity at city, regional and national levels - such as conflict, skills shortages or the untapped potential of informal enterprise.

Understand city systems.

PEAK's research in Colombia highlights the inter-relationships and interaction of different city systems, and how interventions in one system can have positive or negative effects in others. By understanding how urban features emerge and interact, and seeing the city as a "system of systems", urban actors can solve problems in one system via interventions in others, or achieve multiple targets across systems with a single intervention.