Biodiversity and Cities Summer Fellows

Jimena Muzio, MCP ’23, and Daniela Castillo, MCP ’23, will join the ESI as Biodiversity and Cities Summer Fellows. The fellowship builds on the work developed for the client-based course 4.S23 Biodiversity and Cities: A Perspective in Colombian Cities, which aimed to identify strategies that help the city of Quibdó to incorporate biodiversity restoration and enhancement, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and socioeconomic development into their planning processes as the city continues to urbanize in the heart of the Pacific tropical forest. 

Jimena and Daniela will return to Quibdó to implement an engagement plan designed to discuss the local priorities, solicit feedback on the class work, and prioritize a series of solutions for city-led biodiversity management strategies at the urban, peri-urban, and non-urban levels. Additionally, the students will work with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia and assess the replicability of lessons learned in Quibdó for other cities within the BiodiverCities by 2030 framework.

Jimena has a BA and MA in Economics. Her work focuses on integrating informal settlements into the urban fabric in socially and spatially equitable ways. More recently, she has been exploring the link between Bioeconomy and urban planning to promote and increase support for biodiversity conservation through the development of bioeconomic strategies. “The city of Quibdó offers a unique opportunity because it is located in a biodiversity hotspot and urban policies and regulations have the potential to impact a highly valuable ecosystem. I will be conducting research at the intersection of biodiversity conservation and carbon markets in Colombia to inform my master’s thesis at DUSP” said Jimena.

Daniela has a B.S. in Environmental Sciences. Her previous research focused on the health impacts of particulate matter pollution in cities. She is interested in how different urban environmental aspects, such as air pollution, noise pollution, heat and green space, can impact health, as well as in the multiple co-benefits of climate change mitigation actions in urban settings. Through the Biodiversity and Cities class and fellowship, Daniela has started to inquire how the co-benefits can also positively impact biodiversity, particularly in a mega-diverse country like Colombia. With a focus on participatory science as an approach to co-create knowledge between communities and researchers, Daniela aims to strengthen data collection and monitoring practices, as well as to promote environmental education and community engagement in Colombian cities.