Urban Transformation in Colombia 2021

Logo UPB Acreditación 2017-01‘Urban Transformation in Colombia’ is a two-week academic summer course taught by the prestigious Architecture School (accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects – RIBA) at Pontificia Universidad Bolivariana in Medellin, Colombia.

Medellin, the birthplace of ‘social urbanism’, was once one of the world’s most dangerous cities, yet is now famous for its pioneering innovative urban projects that have transformed the lives of many of its citizens. It provides a perfect case study for students.

The program offers participants the chance to explore the city’s evolution first-hand, through a combination of on-campus lectures and practical site visits to prominent cultural, governmental and educational organizations and infrastructure projects in Colombia.  These tours will highlight some of the city’s ‘social urbanism’ projects and are likely to include tours of the metro-cable system, the Museum of Memory, the Botanic Gardens, and the Secretary of Education, among others.

Taught in English, the course is open to undergraduate or masters students studying Architecture, Design, Urban and Environmental Planning, Geography or related social sciences.

Academic Content

During the height of Colombia’s violence in the 1990s and early 2000s, Medellin emerged as a leader in urban planning and used the application of architecture and design as a tool to inspire social cohesion, which became known as ‘social urbanism’. Students will explore this model of development with the UPB faculty whose expertise is derived from direct experience in the planning, construction, and maintenance of local planning initiatives.

64497916_3033635733328193_4026296896698974208_n.jpgTaught with an interdisciplinary approach, students will engage with academics from a range of faculties in Architecture, Urban Planning, Landscape, Design, and Political Science. Topics will include the history of the conflict that Colombia has faced since the 1960s, the process of peace and reconstruction in the country, the Medellin model of ‘social urbanism’, and the environmentally sustainable initiatives that have supported this.

Medellin’s reputation as a hub for creativity and entrepreneurship is well-deserved, and students will investigate the ways in which this has played an important role in helping it to emerge from the conflict. Through a series of lectures, seminars by guest speakers, and site visits to governmental and educational organizations, students will evaluate urban planning in the city and in Colombia more broadly. They will learn how urban planning projects have inspired social cohesion during and after the conflict, and discuss whether the model could be successfully replicated elsewhere.

The course schedule

The two-week residential program will run in June. Students will generally begin classes each morning with practical site visits to illustrate local public and private initiatives in sustainable planning. The afternoons will normally be dedicated to theoretical component taught on campus. Professors will use diverse methodologies to teach the program modules, including workshops, case studies, class discussions and presentations.

In addition, students will have the chance to join various social activities which will be provided by Red Tree Study during evenings and weekends. These activities are free of charge, and will be carefully selected to encourage students to get to know their fellow students, and Colombia. They will include sampling bandeja paisa, the region’s most famous meal, a grafitti tour, and a weekend excursion out of the city to see some of the beautiful countryside nearby.


The Program Package

The course includes an accommodation package and a busy calendar of social activities so that you can get to know your fellow students as you explore Medellin.

Students are housed as a group in the comfortable hotel accommodation, close to the UPB campus. Red Tree Study’s program coordinators will be housed in the same accommodation for the duration of the course and will be on hand to help with any questions and in case of emergency.

The evening and weekend social program, includes a variety of activities – from excursions to discover Colombia’s beautiful landscapes to group meals offering participants the chance to sample typical Colombian cuisine. These activities are carefully selected to enrich your understanding and enjoyment of the country. For more details, check out our course reviews, view our photo galleries, or send us an email.

Dates and Applications

This 2 week academic program will run at Pontificia Universidad Bolivariana. The provisional dates for 2021 are Monday 14 June until Friday 25 June 2021. 

The program is arranged as a package that includes the classes and site visits, hotel accommodation within easy reach of the university campus, an airport pickup upon arrival in Medellin and a calendar of social and cultural activities.

The group will be supervised by Red Tree Study’s program coordinators, who will be staying in the same accommodation for the duration, and will be available to help with any questions or in case of an emergency.

Price per participant: $2,550 USD. To find out more, or to pre-register for an application, please contact us. We also offer digital learning options this year – please get in touch to find out more!