Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To the Poorest People, The Most Beautiful Buildings

The Utne Reader has a story about the transformation of the Columbian city of Medellin.

...It flowered in 2004 under new Medellín Mayor Sergio Fajardo’s simple philosophy: Immediately supplement every reduction in violence with a concrete community improvement. The son of an architect, mathematician-turned-politician Fajardo “grasped how important good design can be in creating a more optimistic, sustainable, socially just city,” the publication, produced by the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, reports. “In keeping with the mantra ‘to the poorest people, the most beautiful buildings,’ some of the city’s most impoverished and brutalized neighborhoods became homes to top-notch new schools and housing (as well as new police stations).”

The city also built “library parks,” hybrid spaces complete with public computer stations. Biblioteca Parque España sits atop a hillside in Santo Domingo Savio, formerly one of the region’s most dangerous neighborhoods. It serves as both a beacon of civic pride and a functional space for community activities.

Read the full article here.