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

In the 1990s, a new Constitution and progressive laws in Colombia facilitated the transition from a modernist urban planning paradigm to one where participation was privileged. 30 years later, studies show the limited impact of participatory planning in addressing social and environmental injustices. While several mayors acquired local and global recognition by ‘constructing’ their cities as international “best practices,” vulnerable populations continue to be excluded from everyday planning decisions. At the same time, there has been a rise in litigation around urban planning in Colombia. The rise in litigation against cities has resulted in judges often dictating how housing, public space, or waste management ought to be implemented. This article analyzes the extent of litigation in Colombian cities and its impact on urban planning decisions. Using Bogotá as a case study it reflects on the prospects and limits of the judicialization of urban planning in the country.