MEDELLIN EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL HOUSING (MESH)

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SUMMARY
In 1991, Medellin was considered to be the most violent city in the world with almost 20 people being shot every day, and one of the five most corrupt cities of Colombia in the year 2003. Society was marked by violence and a strong sense of inequality.
The main problem in Medellin was drug trafficking. The drug cartels had the power in the irregular settlements of the city called “comunas”. The traffickers were turning into public figures such as Pablo Escobar, perhaps the best reference to an eccentric lifestyle of the time.

In the past years, Medellin has carried out social integration policies with the purpose of reducing violence and forming an inclusive city. During the past years large public infrastructure has been developed to connect the territory’s peripheral neighborhoods. The intervention with the most results has been the installation of public facilities and the improvement of the public space of the city. Nowadays Medellin is an important reference in architecture around the world, and is a perfect example of what is known as social urbanism.

CHALLENGE
The local government intends to handle the housing program in the near future. Every year the population of Medellin grows by about 30,000 due to a flow of people from the countryside and into the city. These people usually settle in self-built houses on the mountainside, expanding the city limits in an informal and uncontrolled manner.

Through the established program, we propose to regenerate the city through a new mix of building uses in the historic downtown area. Currently, the center of the city is mostly given tertiary use (office buildings and commerce). This project revolves around implementing new residential use by reformulating the adjacent public spaces in a way that includes housing.

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