Colombia's Medellin boosts its 'eco-city' aims during coronavirus recovery (WEF)

  • Medellin is playing to cut its carbon emissions whilst reviving its economy after COVID-19.

  • It plans to expand bike lanes by almost 50% within three years and more than double the number of interconnected public transport lines by 2030.

  • The mayor described the city as having deep resilience and a history of reinventing itself.

As Colombia's second city of Medellin prepares to revive its economy after the coronavirus pandemic, it simultaneously aims to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2030 - and it is focusing on transport.

City officials say they will expand bike lanes by almost 50% within three years, to 145 kilometres, and more than double the number of interconnected public transport lines, including overland trains, trams and cable car lines, to 26 by 2030.

As well, the city is working to provide 50,000 electric bikes that residents can rent cheaply - and it aims to electrify all public transport by the end of the decade.

"Medellin has a history of reinventing itself, of having deep resilience," Mayor Daniel Quintero told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

"I'm really convinced that in 10 years time, it's going to be very unusual for someone to buy a diesel car," he said.

Medellin is one of dozens of cities around the world aiming to use a post-lockdown economic restart to simultaneously bootstrap environmental measures.

From using stimulus funds to install electric vehicle charging stations to reserving space once limited for cars to pedestrians and cycling, the cities hope to save cash and build resilience by fighting the climate and virus crises together.

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