Redrawing the coast
Diego Guillermo; Huang Bermúdez Obregón
After many years of violence and economic isolation, Colombia’s image has shifted. Several international treaties have been signed and Colombia has been targeted by new travelers and powerful international investors. A forbidden destination less than a decade ago, Colombia welcomes now more than 2 million visitors per year. This rapid economic and touristic boom provides good opportunities for growth but is having dramatic consequences for urban communities and its surrounding ecosystems.The Caribbean region of Colombia is one of the most visited regions in the country. Unfortunately, cities in the region don’t have the tools or the criteria to expand in a sustainable way in terms of competitiveness, social inclusion and urban quality. The perception of the Caribbean coast in Colombia is the one of a line. Development has occurred ignoring the immediate context, trying to imitate the image of the internationally sold Caribbean paradise, disregarding and threatening a unique environment. Along this coast, there are five natural parks. It is one of the most biodiverse spots in the globe. Half of the tourists coming to the country will visit one or two of these natural parks. Nonetheless, tourism, urban expansion and uncontrolled growth are jeopardizing the uniqueness of this region, ruining its diverse natural assets.The Caribbean coast is one of the fastest growing regions in Colombia, with an overall growth rate that will double the population by 2050. Recent growth trends suggest that new development has been rapidly taking over the coast with gated apartment towers, hotels and exclusive resorts up on the coast interrupting public access to the beach. Meanwhile, informality sprawls in the back drop, creeping up the hills, into the marshes, dangerously close to protected areas. A linear wall-city parallel to the coast is being created by these trends for short-term profits, undermining environments, increasing flood risk, promoting social instability and finally.