The project examines the links between mobility, poverty reduction, social inclusion and urban integration. It seeks to learn systematically from a critical assessment of a set of interventions fostered by the local government of Medellín, Colombia's second largest city (population 3.5 million).
Over the past decade the city's government has sought to upgrade and integrate into the city's fabric large areas marked for years by severe poverty and violence. A central component of such efforts is the introduction of two aerial cable-car lines (Metrocables) linked to the city's mass-transit (surface metro) system, thus substantially increasing accessibility for the local population while physically and symbolically integrating these previously no-go areas to the rest of the city. The speed and comparatively low cost of construction, and low levels of particulate emissions of aerial cable-cars, are part of their appeal in dense and hilly urban areas, to the extent that the system is being considered or implemented by local governments in Colombia and elsewhere.
The research also seeks to examine the transferability of aerial cable-car technology to cities with similar topographic, institutional and socio-economic conditions in Latin America and elsewhere, including China.