With a population of 3.5 million, Medellín is Colombia’s second largest urban conglomeration. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area are located along the river Medellín in a rich verdant valley in the Andes at an altitude of 1.600 m above sea level. Its subtropical climate ensures spring-like temperatures all year round.
Medellín’s geographical position and the entrepreneurial flair of its citizens have made it an important financial and economic hub, second only to Bogotá. The city underwent rapid development during the last century and today accounts for 11% of the country’s GDP.
Its rapid industrialisation saw a concomitant rise in population, which between 1900 and 1950 went from 60.000 to 350 000. It was an enormous challenge for urban planners. In 1948, architects Wiener and Sert developed the city’s first urban development plan, called the Plan Piloto. The plan identified the river as the key element around which to develop the new industrial and commercial structures that were redefining the urban structure.
Despite sustained economic development that turned the city into a dynamic, competitive hub in strikingly beautiful natural surrounds, Medellín nonetheless faced - and still faces - severe social and economic issues.
The Gini coefficient measuring income disparity gives Medellín a score of 0.54, making it the city with the largest gap between rich and poor in a country internationally recognized for its serious social disparity. Until recently it was also considered one of the most dangerous and violent cities in the world especially on account of narcoterrorism, the scourge of the 1980s and ‘90s.
Social disparity and violence originated largely from the process of rapid, unchecked urbanisation that impacted the city from the 1950s. The inability of local authorities to manage the massive inflows and meet the
ever-growing demand for housing...
The Limits and Contradictions of Theory
Boris Podrecca ArchitektenViewpointAssessing the currency enjoyed by a given theoretical position requires an understanding of the contingent setting or condition in which it i...
Restraint and Invention in Dutch Architecture
UNStudioThe Dutch are masters of innovation, and design is embedded in their DNA. For centuries, this small, densely populated country has traded with the wor...
Guesthouse Wa Shan
Amateur ArchitectureThe guesthouse and reception centre Wa Shan incorporates several key considerations regarding architecture’s role that are dear to the Amateur Archi...