Dr Soledad Garcia Ferrari’s research has focused on exploring to what extent urban innovation has increased social equity and wellbeing in Colombia’s second-largest city of Medellín. Despite being acclaimed the ‘most innovative city in the world’ by the Urban Land Institute in 2012, Medellín remains one of the most socially unequal cities in Latin America.


Soledad's work has contributed to developing research agendas aimed to improving living conditions in the city across a range of thematic areas such as: public space and wellbeing, mobility & socio-spatial integration, housing & habitat, and cultural heritage.

Working in collaboration with Dr Harry Smith at Heriot Watt University and partner institutions in Colombia, Dr Garcia Ferrari has led a British Council Institutional Links Grant, which began to evaluate the Medellín planning experience from ‘the ground up’, providing insights upon which other cities undergoing similar development can draw. This has led to changes in the Municipal Development Plan, in the local policy on informal rental housing, in community understanding of landslide risk, and in ways in which joint local government and community decision-making around landslide risk mitigation is achieved.  

Collaborative research on the housing and habitat theme has led to two subsequent GCRF-funded research projects, which explored the scope for risk-reducing strategies for informal settlements, identifying viable approaches to develop co-created landslide risk approaches that consider technical and community knowledge on a level platform. This work has contributed to increasing knowledge on the co-production of strategies to mitigate and monitor risk, which led to further proposals now underway in Mexico, focused on climate change adaptation to hydrometeorological phenomena, in the context of an increasing political agenda around ‘smart cities’.

Prof Soledad Garcia-Ferrari

Personal Chair of Global Urbanism and Resilience

Dean of Latin America; Director of the Centre for Latin American Studies

Email: s.garcia@ed.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)131 651 5787