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Diana Marcela Lopez Rivera

Marcela Lopez

Freie Universität Berlin


PhD Candidate

desiguALdades.net: Doctoral Researcher (01/07/2010 - 31/07/2012)

Boltzmannstr. 1
14195 Berlin, Germany

Academic Career

Since 08/2010 Doctoral Researcher desiguALdades.net, Berlin, Germany
10/ 2007 - 01/ 2010 Bauhaus University Weimar (Germany)

M.Sc. International Integrated Urban Studies

09/ 2008 - 01/ 2009 Tongji University Shanghai (China)

Exchange Semester at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP)

09/ 2003 - 05/ 2005 Wageningen University  (the Netherlands)

M.Sc. Urban Environmental Management

01/ 1995 - 12/ 2000 Escuela de Ingeniería de Antioquia (Colombia)

B.Sc. Environmental Engineering

Water Distribution as Indicator of Social Inequality: The Case of Medellín, Colombia

In Latin America, one of the countries most severely affected by the uneven distribution of water resources is Colombia, where almost 30 per cent of the population has no access to this vital source, despite the country’s water wealth. This research addresses the phenomenon of water distribution in Medellín, Colombia’s second biggest city. Medellín is an ideal case to examine due to the fact that the appropriation of water resources in both urban and rural areas has become one of the greatest sources of social and environmental conflicts while international actors are becoming significant contributors to this new emerging situation. Since 2004, the city has reported a rapid growth of desconectados (people disconnected from water supply) in the poorest neighborhoods as a result of the exorbitant increase in the water tariffs. One of the main causes of this problem is the accelerated process of modernization and expansion carried out by Colombia's largest public utility company - Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), in order to increase its competitiveness in the international market. Additionally, the involvement of the private sector in water distribution in rural areas represents a threat to traditional forms of water supply managed by acueductos comunitarios (water-user associations).  This research explores to what extend transregional interdependencies in the water sector intensify the already existing social inequalities in Medellín. Furthermore, it identifies environmental risks and costs emerging as a consequence of uneven access to water resources, and how they are distributed between different social groups. 

Lopez, M. 2010: Participatory Planning in Conflict: the Case Study of San Antonio de Prado-Medellín, in: Eckardt, F., Colini, L. 2010: Bauhaus and the city. (to be published)

Lopez, M. 2010: Card Game and City Guide for Mostar, in: Kai, V., Regina, B., Wilfried H., 2010: United Nations Urbanism, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation (to be published)

Lopez, M. 2009: Coastal Zone Management in North Lebanon: a Participatory Approach to Achieve a Sustainable Development. Year Book 2009, Bauhaus University Weimar.

Lopez, M./ Kuc, M. 2009: Medellín “El Hueco” as a public space, in Gestión y Ambiente Magazine Vol. 12, No. 1 May, p. 131-146.

Gonzalez, G./ Gomez, C./Lopez, M./ Kuc, M. 2009: Sichuan Hot Pot “New Life in Sichuan after Earthquake” in Urban China Magazine Vol 36, p. 64-67.



 Lopez, Marcela, 2009. “Participatory Planning in Conflict: the Case Study of Medellín”. International Symposium Futu.re City – Futu.re Bauhaus, Invited Speaker, Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany. 4-6 November.

Lopez, Marcela, 2009. “The North Lebanon Case: A Participatory Approach to Achieve a Sustainable Future. 8th International Symposium - Parallel Patterns of Urban Growth and Decline”. University of Kaiserslautern, Germany. 23-26 March.

Lopez, Marcela, 2009. “Coastal Zone Management in North Lebanon: A Participatory Approach Towards Sustainable Development”. 9th International Model Project Forum European Urban Studies- Planning in a Time of Crisis? Current projects in Urbanism. Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany. 25–27 February.

Lopez, Marcela, 2006. “Card Game and City Guide for Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina”. Workshop International City Mostar. Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 12-13 June.

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