A City to Grow Into

Rebecca Dalzell, a freelance writer and urban historian, writes about the development of Serena Del Mar for 1843, the bi-monthly magazine from The Economist. The city, which is being built from scratch, tackles two main challenges: how to build a city for both rapid population growth and climate change. Nicolás Galarza, a Research Scholar at the Marron Institute of Urban Management, discusses the nearest major metropolis - Cartagena - which is only seven miles down the coast.

Bogotá and Medellín, the country’s largest cities, have become models for smart urban design. But not Cartagena. It may be one of the fastest-growing cities in Colombia but, according to Nicolás Galarza Sanchez, a research scholar at New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management, it is also a case study in how not to expand. It has spread in a fashion typical of South America: high-rise condominiums for the rich have sprouted along the waterfront while poor settlements made up of squalid, informal dwellings have grown in areas prone to flooding. Galarza and his colleagues are working with the Colombian government to help manage growth in 100 cities across the country.

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