When Medellín is brought up in conversation with someone who is unfamiliar with the region, his or her first thoughts may be centered on the Cartel and the town’s notoriously rocky past. However, with crime at a steady decline and the consistently impressive developments taking place in the city, Medellín is becoming both a South American powerhouse and a popular destination for travelers around the world.
The New York Times recently explored the connection between Medellin’s decreasing crime and the city’s new architectural boom in their article: A City Rises, Along With Its Hopes. With structures like the cable-car systems, the brand new escalator scaling over 1,300 feet into the slums, and recently renovated public plazas and schools, architects in Medellín have been working with great amounts of effort to create an easier, and more equal, quality of life for everyone. These ploys have not only made the city look better in general, but have also connected the people that were once forgotten about back to the city-center, supplying them with more opportunities and options. Michael Kimmelman of the Times even insists that some of the barrios that traditionally weren’t even patrolled by the police forces are now open to all and thriving with commerce, activity, and visitors.
It’s also safe to say that the new architecture has done much more than simply make the city easier on the eyes and increase its functionality. These state-of-the-art plazas, schools, libraries, housing rises, and overall renovations to the poorer areas have given the inhabitants hope. One 20-year-old slum-native summed it up best when stating that the improvement projects have, “changed our conception of ourselves…before, we felt a stigma”. These architectural feats have freed the less fortunate from their anchor of negativity, both physically and mentally. The city is still far from perfect, but using architecture as a catalyst to make life better for all of Medellín’s inhabitants has without a doubt proved fruitful not only for them, but to those visiting the city as well.Colombia, Medellín