UN’s World Urban Forum begins in Medellin Saturday

Posted on Apr 5 2014 - 10:48am by Rico
Medellin Metro Cable

The seventh session of the World Urban Forum, started Saturday, is set to discuss a wide range of urban issues facing the world today in Colombia’s second largest city and 2013′s most innovative city of the year, Medellin.

The World Urban Forum (WUF) said it expects more than 10,000 urban leaders, experts and participates from 160 nations to attend the organization’s seventh forum this month. Medellin’s turn as the host of the Wold Urban Forum is set to last from April 5 to 11.

The WUF convenes every two years in a different city across the world to discuss “the most pressing issues in the world today in the area of human settlements,” said the forum’s website. The main areas of investigation are “rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, economies, climate change and policies.”

The WUF is a branch of the UN’s Human Settlements Program and first met in 2002 in Narobi, Kenya.

The forum brings together a myriad of experts, government officials, NGO’s, finance organizations and international agencies among other participants to the capital of Colombia’s northwestern state of Antioquia.

The theme for Medellin’s forum will be “Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life.” The forum’s program notes that Medellin is a prime example of urban transformation. “Both physically and institutionally, Medellin has exemplified the prioritization of vulnerable communities with solutions for access mobility, inclusive governance and quality education and quality education together with recovery of public spaces and green areas throughout the city.”

The event is estimated to bring the city about $15 million, said Portofolio business newspaper. The Medellin forum is expected to be the largest to date, added the national news source.

Medellin’s urban development initiatives have gained worldwide recognition after the city was named the most innovative of the year in 2013. The award was given by the Wall Street Journal and Citi banking group who teamed up with the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a non-profit research organization, to find the most innovative city based on urban development, economy, culture and a number of other characteristics.

The most visible Medellin urban development program is the city’s mass transit system that connects much of the city through an integrated metro, bus and cable system. The cable system especially has made it easier for historically poor, marginalized and isolated communities living in the hillside neighborhoods surrounding the city to access other parts of the city for work or education. Nevertheless, Medellin is known to have one of the largest wealth gaps in Colombia.

Sources

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