Medellin will be hosting the 7th annual UN World Urban Forum (WUF7) entitled “Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life” next April.
“From pain to hope, then to life,” was the message Medellin wished to share, according to Mayor Anibal Gaviria in an interview at the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy. “We want to showcase that we have truly changed our city for the better and we hope those attending the Forum will be able to see this.”
According to an El Tiempo interview with the World Forum Manager Ricardo Arango, the event hopes to attract 11,000 attendees, including 5,000 from outside the country.
At the conference, Arango said they will “talk about what will be the model for cities in the next 20 years” in the context of equitable development, by creating opportunities for all sectors of the city.
In the UN WUF7 concept paper, the idea behind the Forum’s theme, “Urban Equity in Development,” is that “public goods and basic services should be available to everyone, creating conditions to be distributed according to needs… In this sense, it should ensure that redistributive mechanisms and where possible special measures are put in place for a fair, more efficient use of resources, skills and opportunities, and to promote equal outcomes for all.”
According to Arango, Medellin “seduced” representative from the UN, who chose the city to host WUF7 because of its status as a “living laboratory of transformation,” illustrated by large-scale infrastructure development projects carried out throughout the city with the involvement of citizens.
“The transformation was not the product of big public works projects alone, but rather a process of planning that included citizens, known as social urbanism,” said Arango. “Here we put into movement large-scale projects: building schools; libraries; gondolas; escalators; and other projects in the most economically depressed sectors of the city, to generate public spaces for equity and enjoyment.”
In spite of praise, some of Medellin’s large-scale projects praised for being innovative are suffering from lack of maintenance. Medellin’s iconic Santo Domingo library, located in the impoverished northeast of the city, is partly closed at the moment due to walls coming down and fungus growing inside the building.
The choice of Medellin to host this forum comes after Bogota won the competition to host an international summit on cities and local authorities in 2016.
- La ciudad del futuro se pensará desde Medellín (El Tiempo)
- Come one, come all: Medellin Mayor welcomes delegates to Seventh Forum (UN World Urban Forum website)