Medellín has become a success story by overcoming challenges of uncontrolled urban expansion and years of violence due to social inequalities. Its transformation is remarkable: in just two decades it went from one of the most violent cities in the world to position itself as a model of urban innovation. Through bold leadership, long-term plans and social innovation, city mayors have addressed problems and improved the economy, employability and quality of life of their citizens.
With limited resources, Medellín devised alternative but sustainable means to finance its urban development, while implementing catalytic projects in strategic areas to achieve the greatest impact for its people. Projects focused on controlling the expansion of the city, improving the conditions of existing settlements, generating new public spaces and promoting the generation of jobs and education with a new multi modal transport infrastructure, have been developed, always caring for the environment, and for social sustainability.
In an increasingly urbanized and complex world, social integration has become a great challenge for many cities. Medellín seems to have found the key through social innovation. The city seeks to empower each member of society and give them a role within the city. And, in this process, the city won the trust of all citizens. For example, with the “Buen Comienzo” (Good Start) program, which focuses on early childhood education, it clearly articulates the commitment to invest in the future.
Prioritizing the needs of its citizens, Medellín proactively instills a culture of open dialogue and cooperation between government, private entities and individuals. A clear example is the management of Proantioquia and the Committee University Enterprise Government (CUEE, for its acronym in Spanish), which works together to formulate policies and execute initiatives based on the principles of social responsibility and equity.
By transforming underutilized sites into multipurpose spaces, a sustainable approach to urban development is given which, in turn, strengthens the identity of communities.
Although ecological sensitivity is undoubtedly important, interventions whose priorities were the needs of people and which focused on improving their quality of life also have great relevance in Medellín; there are unconventional transport systems, such as the Metrocable, which connects the outskirts of the mountains with the city’s downtown district. This is the result of a participatory society that gathers to formulate and implement long-term plans, thus contributing to the progress
The enthusiasm and positive spirit of the inhabitants of Medellín are palpable and