Twenty years after being considered the the most violent city in the world, Medellin is no longer recognized as the most dangerous city, but the most innovative, the most resilient, and an example in planning projects that generate equality.
This transformation is the reason Medellin became the host city of the Seventh World Urban Forum, one of the most important of its kind dealing with city issues. Led by UN-Habitat, the Municipality of Medellín and the Colombian Ministry of Housing, the event will be held in the week of April 5th to 11th.
In 2012, during the sixth World Urban Forum in Naples, Medellín was announced to have won the seat of the 7th version of the event. One of the main reasons quoted was the amazing development and transformation experienced by Medellin and Colombia in the last two decades: from the violence of Pablo Escobar, to being a poster city for architecture, urban planning and innovation worldwide.
Among the personalities and experts that will attend the forum are the Nobel Laureate in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, and urban planners Brent Toderian and Richard Florida. Also, Medellin will receive the President of Ghana, the Vice President of Lesotho, the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, ministers from over sixty countries on all continents, and mayors from Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Innovative air purifier at the Plaza Mayor Convention Center in Medellín
The social role of civil infrastructure made Medellín a living laboratory not only for urban development processes, but also an exploration of the mechanisms that promote equity. This has attracted other cities interested in knowing how they did it, so that they can bring the model to their cities.
The forum promises to be a debate with high standards and innovative conclusions. But being set in a city like Medellin, the forum will be especially conscious of social issues and will promote a new understanding for urban equity in the 21st century.
How is your city being challenged to be more equitable? Can international events such as the World Urban Forum really influence public policy and change our cities for good?
Credits: Images by Luis Lozano-Paredes. Data linked to sources.