Although success of Bogotá went bad design, architecture emblematic of Medellin is reviving once a city plagued by crime
During the last decade, Colombia has been the cornerstone of what a good design and enlightened policy can do for the cities. If Barcelona was the example in urban 1990s, city planners today are more likely to report the capital of Colombia, Bogota, and its second city, Medellin. In both cities, a succession of mayors has used dynamic transport infrastructure and new public buildings as tools for social change. But this tale of two cities does not come with two happy endings.
In Bogota, two mayors, particularly the former philosophy professor Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa, has had a dramatic impact. Famous, has decent sidewalks, bike paths and bus service to avoid traffic Transmilenio paralyzing the capital - measures that favored the lack of confidence in his possession. His achievements were even more celebrated in a documentary. But this success story gone bad. Today, TransMilenio is so crowded, even the passengers went on strike (probably a victim of its own success), there are many road projects under way that traffic has come to a standstill, and the mayor last Samuel Moreno, awaiting trial for corruption. "Eight years ago who believes in this city, is currently in crisis," says Giancarlo Mazzanti, Colombia's most famous architect.
could not be said of Medellin, which has undergone an incredible transformation. In the 1990s, Medellin is the capital murder of the world. Then, the home of Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels at war, this is a city where almost everyone has a tragic story of a friend or relative. Violent crime remains a problem, especially in poor neighborhoods, but nothing like in its heyday. Medellín today is more likely that the news of a new building photogenic. In recent years there have been architectural magazines sink fed with self-consciously flagship projects of its kind that has been thin on the ground since the recession.
The man who usually gets the credit for initiating this sequence of urban interventions is, again, a mayor. Sergio Fajardo was a brilliant mathematician who was mayor of Medellin 2003-7. He was obsessed with the idea of ??public space, especially in poor neighborhoods - which attributed the drop in crime during his tenure, in part to the increased amount of public space per capita. The first is the Park Greetings, a stone plaza with fountains that function as a theater for film screenings outdoors. Fajardo, a good architecture and public spaces are a way to generate civic pride, and today Medellin is a product of that vision.
However, Fajardo, the son of an architect, was the man for the times - and like any politician (currently the Governor of the State) who will be happy to take credit. The true story of the transformation of Medellín has its roots in a civic movement that began in the mid 90s and saw politicians, captains of industry and architects working with a common goal. "The most important thing that happened in this city was not architecture, but a" social architecture "consisting of people - politicians and businessmen knew that you must build a future for all" says Jorge Perez, former head of urban planning for the metropolitan area.
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