By Categories: Editorials, Society

Medellin (Country -Colombia) once a city ruled by crime, drug trafficking and domestic war in the last 20 years of the past century, has made it on to the list of the top 10 urban innovations. This may sound like a news headline but it is much more than that. It is the opening statement of a story of rapid transformation, growth and inspiration from Latin America.

The extent of its achievement can be measured not only in its inclusion as a demonstration of an urban innovation, but also on its recognition in 2012 as the world’s most innovative city, its reputation for textile manufacturing, as a beacon of the fashion industry, its contribution to more than 8% of the booming Colombian GDP, and its warm, friendly population of 2.49 million who have contributed to the rich Latino culture with renowned artists such as Fernando Botero.

A girl stands nearby as cable cars pass behind her, at a viewpoint overlooking Medellin March 1, 2013.

Now, the important aspect of this success story does not lie in the recognition itself, but in the foundations upon which it is built.

Essentially, the story of Medellin is an exaltation of the concept of cities as a solution, and not as a problem, to the global challenges we face.

As a matter of fact, Medellin is considered a success only because all the stakeholders, grouped around the public, private and citizen sectors, understood the value of defending its existence.

Pursuing the dream of improving the city they already had, rather than tearing it down by declaring it a failure, was the main way of defending the potential they dreamt of fulfilling. Instead, what this Colombian city proved is that cities are merely victims of the lack of innovative creative thinking by the individuals and institutions responsible for their transformation.

Today, Medellin has also become a beacon for what the developing world has to say about innovation. It has forged success as a testing ground for new social approaches to urbanization.

From this approach, there are powerful lessons we can learn, and share, as new methods of urbanization around the world.

Cities do not make poor people. Cities attract poor and vulnerable individuals looking for a better future. Therefore, they must be accepted and integrated into the city’s dynamics in order to foster their individual and collective potential. As shown by the 8.9% reduction in poverty between 2008 and 2013, according to Colombia’s department of statistics.

Architecture must never be a barrier to human interaction. The best way to reduce inequality is to promote connections and face-to-face engagement between individuals, without regards to their socioeconomic condition.

Public and accessible urban services reduce inequality. Allowing individuals across the board to enjoy a city, its surroundings and services are the best ways to make them active citizens.

Education drives change. Placing libraries and other cultural assets alongside public transport systems played a central role in selling the new brand the city wanted to create for itself, placing it squarely in the collective mindset.

Using technology as a means and not as the end itself. Medellin understood that whatever technological upgrades were needed, its success would rest with the function it fulfills and not in the scientific advancement it represents.

Last, but not least, placing culture high on the list of priorities helps to unleash a citizen’s potential. Culture plays a major role in a city’s transformation due to its ability to bringing people together, to move forward from traditional socioeconomic paradigms, and to share a vision and common values.

When we apply our creative mindset to solving global challenges through the prism of our own local environments, the title of smart city becomes a universally affordable reality.

As a millennial from the emerging world, the story of Medellin is the story of what the world will see this century, which is only just beginning.

This will be a century of transformation driven by the Teslas, Alibabas and Medellins of the world. Each with its own approach, each with its own challenges and each with its own contribution to building a more equal, just, productive and exciting world.

Share is Caring, Choose Your Platform!

Recent Posts

  • Darknet


    Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.

    The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.


    Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.

    These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.

    Pros :

    • Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
    • Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
    • Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
    • Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.


    • Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
    • Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
    • Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
    • Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.