From World's Drug Capital to Green Oasis: The Incredible Story of Medellin, Colombia

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Medellin, Colombia: This city's name used to strike fear in peoples' hearts. In the 80s and early 90s, it was known as the drug capital of the world and the most violent city on the planet.

But Medellin has come a tremendous distance in less than a decade, thanks to a massive urban planning scheme, head up by Compromiso Ciudadano (an independent civic movement formed by academics, NGO professionals, businessmen and community organizations) since 2004.

Its main focus? The greening and improvement of public space to encourage community building.

Main points of the plan include every green urbanite's dream: improvement of diminished neighborhoods, library-parks, new schools and kindergartens, social housing, pedestrianization and greening of streets, new public transport and better security. Here are 12 of our favorite new architectural endeavors in this city.

Building Community

"The Medellin Development Plan gives public space and public buildings the most relevant value, to encourage the meeting of citizens as this is the best scenario to build a better society and a better living," says Sebastian Alvarez Diaz, Secretary of Public Works at the Medellin municipality.

Photo: Medellin Public Works Office.

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