Catching up on more from vacation... last week I wrote about Medellin, in the wake of the World Urban Forum. Brent Toderian follows up with his thoughts and lessons-learned in this piece. A couple of key points he makes:
Looking at the public spaces filled with people today, it's hard to imagine that just a few decades ago they were empty, if they even existed at all. Taking back the city from fear and violence has rejuvenated the inherent latin love of public spaces and public life. Although safety and security is still a real issue (and to some extent, an excuse) preventing the full enjoyment of many streets and spaces, there is ample evidence that the citizens are no longer afraid to enjoy, and own, their city.
Perhaps due to the "advantage" of small budgets by wealthy city standards, Medellín has a culture of doing more with less, and thinking outside the box when looking for solutions.
Medellín has a great interest in learning from other places, and is getting past a tendency to hide behind those 8 words that are so unhelpful to a city's progress - "we could never do that in our city." Truth be told, it's other cities around the world that could learn much from Medellín, for the three reasons I've noted above, and many others. The "Medellín Model" is just getting started, and cities everywhere would do well to pay attention.
Only snarky comment from Kevin: we all love public spaces and public life; we just don't have nearly enough of either.