There is a fascinating climate change article over at International Business News this week, detailing how sustainability designers are looking to slums as a “proving ground” for experiments in innovation and new methods of local transit–particularly via cable car or gondola.

In the past decade or so, cable car transit systems have become increasingly popular in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, especially in hillside slums where the only other way down is by narrow, zigzagging walkways and corridors. The soaring lifts carry commuters over the rooftops of the shanties, making the trek considerably easier and connecting residents with hospitals, train stations and commercial centers below.

In Rio de Janeiro, a six-station gondola lift that runs above the city’s Complexo do Alemão favela has turned a 1 1/2-hour hike to a nearby commuter rail station into a 16-minute aerial hop. In addition to a cable car system of its own, Medellín, Colombia, has an impressive, 1,200-foot covered escalator that slices through the sloped, densely populated community of Comuna Trece.

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