The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU contributes to shaping the Laboratory of barrios populares -‘Populab’- in Cali, Colombia

3 January 2023

The Laboratory of Barrios Populares – Populab - was launched in Cali on November 15th, 2022, as part of the research project “Gridding Equitable Urban Futures in Areas in Transition”, funded by the UK-GCRF.


This project is a collaboration among the University of Lancaster, the Universidad del Valle, the DPU - University College of London and the Polytechnic University of Havana -CUJAE-. The Populab aims to build relevant proposals, in collaboration with the different urban actors, both public and private, to improve the living conditions of the residents of Cali's popular neighbourhoods from an intersectional approach.

The Populab launch occurred in a public event in the Municipal Theatre of Cali with international guests and the attendance of local authorities, the academic sector, the local press, and the communities from Comuna 18th involved. In this event, it was introduced the three intertwined axes of the laboratory -comprehensive neighbourhood upgrading, zero waste and mobility- to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Neighbourhoud Upgrading Policy as an instrument for building urban territorial peace.  This Laboratory is led by Universidad del Valle in partnership with the Secretary of Habitat and Social Housing and community representatives of Comuna 18th. A relevant outcome of the applied research is the Legalization of four neighbourhoods of Comuna 18th– Pampas, Brisas de Las Pampas, Alto Polvorines and La Arboleda- led by The School of Architecture, Universidad del Valle.  

Catalina Ortiz, associate professor at DPU, in her role of co-investigator, has contributed to incorporating the intersectional approach to neighbourhood upgrading research and bringing the nexus with the transition to urban territorial peace. For example, the Policy Brief on Comprehensive habitat upgrading for transitioning to territorial urban peace has been recently presented to the municipality of Cali, to influence the formulation of Cali’s Policy of Peace and Reconciliation.

Catalina Ortiz speaking
Find out more about Populab on their website and follow on Instagram @populabcali