Medellín, founded in 1675, is the capital city of Antioquia region and is the central city of the metropolitan Aburrá Valley. Medellín is divided into 16 large sectors called communes and 5 townships. Medellín is recognized for its significant commercial, industrial and economic tradition. Along with the department of Antioquia, Medellín contributes 15% of the gross domestic product (GDP) due to the entrepreneurial vision and commercial temperament of the ‘paisa’ (as is known to people from Antioquia in the rest of the country), and these are vital factors for the emergence of business culture. Despite its commercial strength, Medellín is not exempt from problems that affect many cities in Colombia, such as violence, insecurity and drug trafficking. These issues are deepened by the lack of opportunities for people that live in poverty and inequality. To address the problems of violence, poverty and inequality, the local government of the city of Medellín has focused their governance to create opportunities through urban transformation, investment in education and the strengthening of citizen participation in public issues. The results of these decisions, have made Medellín become an important international reference in good urban practices: Medellín today is an inclusive city interested in reducing inequality, while promoting human capital and engaging in sustainable urban practices.
An Integral Urban Project (IUP) is a type of urban intervention that aims to raise levels of quality of life for residents in a specific area. For that reason, IUP concentrates all its resources into a single territory, focusing their efforts and looking achieve results that are reflected in development and transformation of communities, socially and physically. It is specially designed to intervene in areas of the city's most deprived and marginalized, where the state usually has a high social debt. In essence, the IUP seeks to be a replicable intervention model.
The project constructs safe public spaces to address urban violence and provide areas for social exchange. This initiative addresses the implementation of new public buildings and the improvement of existing schools, medical centers and other services that contribute to social development and the mitigation of poverty. The IUP also addresses the restoration and preservation of the environment to lower the risk of natural disasters and to achieve environmental sustainability. “On a global level the IUP contributes to reduce the worldwide problem of slum formation in urban areas, and aims to achieve the Millennium Development Goals: eradication of extreme poverty and environmental sustainability” saidOscar Santana.
The IUP addresses the issues of sustainable development throughout the implementation of a model of intervention. This embraces an institutional, physical and social approach and is replicable in other situations with similar conditions. The components of the strategy focus on strengthening community participation, inter-institutional coordination and responsibility while providing housing, public buildings, public space, mobility, environmental restoration and implementing social development projects. The programs are put into action with the assistance of other institutions such as NGOs along with others in the public and private sectors
Municipality of Medellín – www.medellin.gov.co Empresa de Desarrollo Urbano – EDU - http://www.edu.gov.co/ UrbamCemtro de Estudios Urbanos y Ambientales - http://www.eafit.edu.co/centros/urbam/Paginas/urbam.aspx Hernandez, Cesas Augusto, 'Proyecto Urbano Integral en la Zona Nororiental de Medellín', I Congreso Internacional sobre Desarrollo Humano, Madrid, 2006. Open Architecture Network, 'ProyectoUrbano Integral PUI Nororiental',On line, available on: http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/puimedellin, Recovered at June 12, 2012. Covaleda, Ximena; 'Medellín: villa, ciudad, metrópoli', P.E.A.R, June 2012. Echeverri A, Rodríguez C, Montoya C, 'Catenarias Sociales: Línea metrocable y PUI Nororiental, Medellín', Arquitectura Viva, Nº 138, Madrid, 2011.