A bold and ambitious public works plan for the Colombian city of Medellín helped revitalise its poorest neighborhoods and transform what was considered the deadliest city in the world into a vibrant, urban hub.
In just four years, Alejandro Echeverri, then-director of urban projects, and Sergio Fajardo, former mayor, led the charge for urban renewal, supported by a vast team of architects, technicians and community members and buoyed by Fajardo’s belief that, “Our most beautiful buildings must be in our poorest areas.”
In an effort to decrease the social problems of the city and high crime rates the public buildings and civic spaces have been located in the poorer neighbourhoods to bring people into these neighbourhoods and encourage residents to mix regardless of class.
This revitalisation project won the Curry Stone Design Prize in 2009.
A similar philosophy can be seen in Bogota, Colombia, where consecutive mayors Antanas Mockus and Enrique Penalosa revitalised the city through first reaching out to the people's hearts and morales, and then through transforming the built environment. The documentary Cities On Speed:Bogota Change can be viewed (in 6 parts) here