[via Architectural Record]
Parque Biblioteca España is one of a number of notable projects built in the past decade in Medellin, Colombia, whose exceptionally progressive mayor, Sergio Fajardo, is using infrastructure, landscape, and architecture to spark renewal and combat systemic poverty. Much as Elemental’s Quinta Monroy made architecture a legible toolset for the residents of one city block in Iquique, the program of infrastructural development in Medellin has deployed architecture and landscape across the entire city, providing the city’s residents — and the inhabitants of the mountainside “comunas”, in particular — with an infrastructural toolset to rebuild their city and neighborhoods. Once the headquarters of Pablo Escobar, wracked by corruption and violence, and described as “the murder capital of the world”, Medellin has been transformed by an emphasis on public culture, shared spaces, and transparency. The Metro de Medellin was extended into the comunas by the construction of Line K, a public-transit cable car which replaced tedious and slow two-hour bus rides down the steep mountain side with a fast and comfortable twenty-minute ride, sparking the growth of community businesses in the comunas. A botantical garden located in the dangerous neighborhood of Moravia was renovated to remove walls, symbolically opening the garden to the community, and upgraded with a striking new central pavilion under which cultural events are organized and attended. The additions are both as small as the introduction of staircases connecting mountainside homes and as large as the system of five library parks, which includes Biblioteca España, providing safe and open places for meeting, playing and learning in the heart of the comunas.
Have a look at this interesting blog: http://m.ammoth.us/blog/