Medellin’s mayor, Anibal Gaviria, called the award “a reason for joy on the part of every one of the 2.5 million inhabitants of our city.” He isn’t wrong there. It is not often you beat New York.
Medellin, in Colombia, has been named the world’s most innovative city in a competition organized by the non-profit Urban Land Institute.
Medellin, once known for being the stronghold of the Medellin drug cartel, beat the other two finalists, Tel Aviv and New York. The final three were nominated in October last year. Individuals were then asked to vote online for their top candidates.
The city was acclaimed for its civic spaces, libraries, and art galleries, as well as its infrastructure which includes a giant escalator and cable cars allowing the residents of the poor neighborhoods on Medellin’s sharp hillside to easily travel to the city center, down in the valley.
In the 1980’s, Medellin was believed to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world, due to the bloodshed unleashed by notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar and the cartels.