There are no bars! A great social convention for Medellín’s public space

Governments are free, and it is their prerogative, to make decisions that they deem appropriate and relevant to the region, to prioritize projects, and to propose processes and policies that best align with their development plans.

However, it is necessary to have a minimum set of limits, if you wish to restrict actions that could have devastating effects on the city due to ignorance or whim.

Medellín’s urban processes have been recognized worldwide as one of the most important factors in its transformation. Public space projects have been protagonists of this transformation: Pies descalzos, Parques Libraries, PUIS, Plaza Botero, escalators, UVAS, Parques del Río Medellín and others, which are world references in urban development.

Let’s agree as a city, a minimalist, but strong specifier “there are no bars in public space in Medellin”. This community has proven to be smarter and more creative, believing that the solution to any problem, be it security or “environmental connectivity” is to install rails.

Parques del Río Medellín is the result of a process of many years, carried out in the office of the Mayor of Aníbal Gaviria, bringing together the work of many actors, processes and institutions, from Pedro Nel Gómez, Juan Wolf, BIO 2030, Metropolitan Plans and which is defined as a project structuring strategy Medellin Land Management Plan (POT 2014).

More than 48 international references (Madrid, Seoul, etc.) were studied; 53 companies from around the world submitted their proposals to the public design competition; There have been more than 1,400 engagements, socializations, and publications. Parques del Río was a city building, a social agreement that today has more than 19 international recognitions, including many for the quality of its landscape design and its benefits of environmental connectivity and sustainability. By far the most awarded public space project in the country.

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Today is a meeting place, equality, where we are all equal. “Bringing life back to the river and the river for the city and its inhabitants” was a promise of value materialized with a new high-quality public space.

The winning design proposal was one of the most rigorous landscape studies, bio-connectivity, associations of species selecting each individual and the place in which it provided the greatest benefits to the environment, 120 major species and about 136 minors uniting a botanical garden in half of the city

“There are no gates in the Parques del Río”, no matter whether the intentions are noble, naive or perverted, the park does not need it, it does not need a “green wall”.

In 2014, some residents of Al-Fatihine neighborhood proposed building a green wall, because they were afraid that residents from the other side of the river would come into their neighborhood. Back then like today, our response was powerful: there were no more walls in public spaces, and the beauty of the project was that it managed to unite the city, weaving the scar into which the river has turned us.

Former Operations Manager
Medellin River Parks

Myrtle Frost

"Reader. Evil problem solver. Typical analyst. Unapologetic internet ninja."

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