Improving Safety Through Architecture and Public Works in Colombia

This piece from <em>Utne Reader</em> looks at the role of architecture in the public works projects of Medellin, Colombia, a city that has struggled with severe crime.
January 30, 2010, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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Former Medellín mayor Sergio Fajardo talks about how design and architecture affected the city's safety and psychology.

"As we reported in November, during Fajardo's term as mayor (from 2004 through 2007), any reduction in violence was immediately supplemented with a 'concrete community improvement.' So as Medellín's murder rate plunged, many of the city's poorest neighborhoods became home to sparkling new schools, housing, community spaces, and "library parks" (the Parque Biblioteca España, designed by Mazzanti, is pictured above, at left).

'From the time I was a child, it was clear to me what aesthetics meant as a tool for social transformation, as a message of inclusion,' Fajardo, whose father was an architect, tells Mazzanti. 'That is something that is often misunderstood here. Underneath it all is the most important word in all of those urban interventions in which architecture plays an important role: dignity.'"

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Published on Friday, January 29, 2010 in Utne Reader
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