Urban Fold

Striking Architecture for the Poor

That was former Medellin, Columbia mayor Sergio Fajardo's plan to rebuild his city, an idea that turned out to be transformational.

Francis Fukuyama and Seth Colby report on Medellin's remarkable turnaround, and the role played by urban planning and architecture:

"Fajardo and his colleagues believed in social urbanism: the idea that modernist buildings and transportation systems [...] would help bridge the enormous gulf of distrust separating the poor from mainstream society. In barrios like Santo Domingo and Comuna 13, the city created digitized maps of every street and building, noting where drug gangs operated and money flowed, and devised architectural features to disrupt them."

As Fukuyama and Colby put it, "getting social services right matters a lot more than ideology."

Full Story: Half a Miracle -- Medellín's rebirth is nothing short of astonishing. But have the drug lords really been vanquished?

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