Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ)

ETH Zurich is one of the leading international universities for technology and the natural sciences. It is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice. Founded in 1855, ETH Zurich today has more than 18,000 students from over 110 countries, including 3,900 doctoral students. Twenty-one Nobel Laureates have studied, taught or conducted research at ETH Zurich, underlining the excellent reputation of the university. Within this context, the Department of Architecture is one of the most highly regarded faculties of architecture in the world. It owes its prominent position to both the teaching and research, activities, and its success to the fruitful intertwining of the teaching staff’s academic instruction and practical building activity.
ETH is positioned to tackle some of the most challenging questions regarding urbanization and the future of cities. Since 2012 the Brillembourg and Klumpner Chair of Architecture and Urban Design has been contributing to the Inter American Development Bank’s ESCI program providing urban solutions for emerging cities in Latin America. In 2013 ETH Zurich entered into partnership with SECO allowing them to further develop their contribution to the ESCI program in the city of Barranquilla.


Universidad del Norte

The Universidad del Norte is the main academic center for higher education in northern Colombia. It was founded in 1966 by a group of businessmen led by Karl C. Parrish in the city of Barranquilla. It started its academic operation on July 11, 1966, with 58 students and 10 teachers on core courses of business administration and engineering.
According to a recent ranking of the best universities of Colombia the “Universidad del Norte” is one of the 5 best ones of Colombia. The university is composed of 8 academic divisions: Engineering, Administrative Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Legal Sciences and the Basic Sciences division, as well as the Institute of Superior Studies in Education.
The university offers courses in industrial, mechanical, computer, civil, electrical and electronic engineering, as well as Medicine, Business Administration, Law, Psychology, International Relations, International Business, Math, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Architecture, and several other faculties. In total, the university offers 22 undergraduate programs, 69 professional specialization programs, 37 Master’s programs, and 6 doctoral programs. The University also offers some specialization programs in Santa Marta. It is one of the most important cultural and technological centers on the Caribbean region of Colombia.

SECO logo

SECO – State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Economic Development and Cooperation

SECO is the Swiss Confederation’s competence center for all core issues relating to economic policy. The Economic Cooperation and Development Division is responsible for the planning and implementation of economic cooperation and development activities with middle-income developing countries, including Colombia. It coordinates Switzerland’s relations with the Inter-American Development Bank and supports ETH involvement in the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative.


Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative, Inter-American Development Bank 

ESCI is the Inter American Development Bank’s non-reimbursable technical assistance program providing direct support to local governments in their sustainable development plans and execution. ESCI, directed by Ellis Juan employs a multidisciplinary approach to address the challenges faced in LAC’s urban areas. This transversal approach includes an analysis of the: (a) environmental and climate change sustainability, (b) urban sustainability, and (c) fiscal sustainability and governance. ESCI provides a set of tools to: (i) identify key challenges that cities may encounter in achieving sustainability; (ii) weigh and prioritize those challenges in terms of climate impact, economic benefits and public opinion; and, (iii) promote investment decisions (interventions) in the prioritized sectors that consider a comprehensive view of the community (consultations with civil society, academia and private sector). In 2012 Barranquilla joined the ESCI regular program, an Action Plan was produced for the city, which includes prioritized interventions and a strategy for their execution. In addition, ESCI selects a prioritized intervention and assists the local government with the required pre-investment financing, in addition to mobilizing additional financing from available sources for project implementation.



Findeter is the Colombian Territorial Development Financial Entity. It is a national mixed economy corporation organized as a credit establishment linked to the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. It discounts credits to the regional authorities, to their decentralized bodies, to the metropolitan areas, to the municipalities associations. It also provides the technical assistance service on project structuring. Building on the ESCI program, Findeter has recently developed its own initiative for Sustainable and Competitve Cities, (ICES). This program represents a new approach in focusing on the most urgent challenges faced by cities through an integrated and interdisciplinary lens. Findeter has a team of dedicated urban practitioners based in Barranquilla.

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