On Monday 13th September at 11:00 CEST Dr Diana Benjumea Meija presented her research on "The Spatial and Social Components of Community-led Green Spaces and its Contribution to the Health and Wellbeing of Low-income Communities" at the 9th World Sustainability Forum
In the last decade, there has been a surge in projects initiated by urban low-income residents in Medellin to revitalise urban green spaces through pro-environmental initiatives. Urban green spaces in these neighbourhoods are believed to be the repositories of diverse socially constructed and perceived meanings defined by the prosocial and self-reflective approaches of the communities to achieve alternative methods of governance over the territory.
This study was designed to investigate the underlying spatial and social components that emerge after the community-led green spaces are built. Two neighbourhoods in Medellin were investigated: Villatina (commune 8) and Eduardo Santos (commune 13). A quasi-longitudinal mix-methods study was conducted from 2016 until June 2021.
Ethnographic field work, interviews, focus groups and surveys were collected with residents of the two neighbourhoods. The results of this study suggest that there are underlying social and spatial components that emerge after the community-led green spaces are built and these are crucial to forge prosocial behaviours, activism, stewardship, and protection from crime.
Additionally, the active engagement of the communities in self-governed placemaking process creates an immediate sense of place defined by social factors such as ownership, learning, community coexistence, cooperation, sustainability, and ecology. These components contribute to the mental and physical health and wellbeing of low-income residents and creates unique social and environmental values.
Book of abstracts available here