Speaker: Alejandro Echeverri
Title: Medellín, Social Urbanism. Spatial justice and urban narratives
Date & Time: Friday 1 December 2017, 13:30 – 17:30
Venue: VU Amsterdam, Main Building, Room HG-KC07, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam
During the 1980s and 1990s, drug trafficking came to dominate part of the city of Medellín (Colombia), and this made its social segregation more visible. Most of the city's social and urban problems were concentrated in the north part of the city. Violence and crisis had caused many streets to become the territory of illegal groups. The great challenge was to make the city more transparent, to open it, to build trust, and to change perceptions toward the city as a whole.
From 2004 Medellin became a living laboratory through educational, cultural social programs and physical transformations, that focused on its northern neighborhoods where the most structural inequity problems and violence existed.
Echeverri's recent experience of urban and social transformation (achieved and ongoing) that has taken place in Medellin in the last years has allowed us not only to experiment within the different disciplinary core of urbanism, architecture, and landscape, but also as a way to create practical tools and scopes to deal with urban and social affairs within politics. Most of this operation has taken place in marginalized neighborhoods, with the objective of making viable a more sustainable model of performance from a social and physical-environmental perspective.
In 2010 Echeverri created URBAM, The Center for Urban and Environmental Studies at EAFIT University in Medellin. URBAM is an urban projects agency and research center that focuses on emergent territories with problems of inequity and exclusion.