Monday, January 26, 2015

Medellin Turnaround Driven by Infrastructure Improvements

"Metrocablemed" by Camilo Sanchez at en.wikipedia.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Metrocablemed.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Metrocablemed.jpg
About 20 years ago, Medellin, Colombia was a city in turmoil.

The city was crime-ridden and under the control of famous drug lords.  Anyone that dared to stand up to them found themselves dead.  How Medellin has become one of the Western Hemisphere's success stories and most desirable places to visit and even work is a tale many city planners can also follow.

A reprinted article on Salon.com details the steps that Medellin has taken to turn itself into a bustling economic giant that just keeps growing.   It involves the term "transit-oriented development" and we could do it easily here in our city.

While Indianapolis has its challenges, it can't compare to the Medellin city planners were faced with in the early 1990's.  Drug lords like Pablo Escobar were seen as Robin Hood figures.  Law enforcement and military operations did a great job taking down Escobar and taking back the streets, but that was only part of the issue.

As the article from Salon discusses, Medellin connected a modern and integrated transportation system to the city's poorest areas giving everyone access to every part of the city for about, 91 cents.  Then it took even greater lengths to connect other of the poorest barrios to the city.  The story doesn't stop there, either.  You'll just have to peruse the article which was reprinted from a piece by Judith Rodin.

I wonder if Indianapolis could do better by connecting our residents via a variety of forms of cheap transportation?  Could our city do better if we were all more connected via the internet?  Thoughts worth thinking.

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