Inclusion, Cities and the Law: Rethinking Urban Planning in the Context of Increased Legal Action in Colombia

Since the 1990s, a new Constitution and progressive legal frameworks in Colombia facilitated the transition from a centralized and modernist urban planning paradigm to one where democratization, participation and the “social and ecological function of property” were privileged. However, thirty years later, studies show that participatory planning has had a limited impact in addressing the country’s heightened social and environmental injustices. While several Colombian mayors and planners have sought local and global recognition by constructing and circulating their cities as international “best practices,” vulnerable populations continue to be excluded from everyday planning decisions. The paper develop a typology of recurrent themes and actors involved in municipal legal action in Colombia and analyze select cases in Bogota. We conclude reflecting on the possibilities and limits of using legal actions to make urban planning processes more inclusive in cities of the Global South