Medellin is the second biggest city in Colombia, now widely consider the world example of urban development with its social urbanism and architectural activism. The UN-Habitat World Urban Forum was just held there in early April, bringing in mayors, city planners, urban researchers and alike around to world.
The objective is to understand how social urbanism strategies have turned one of the most dangerous cities in the world, to one that is now safe and is open for people to connect. Since the druglord Pablo Escobar died two decades ago, the government has put in efforts to open up public space and make it safe for people to spend time; they have also used transportation as a means to connect the poorest and the richest part of the city, bringing in more equality.
After spending some time understanding the situation on the ground, I plan to implement some participatory art project, ideas coming through those conceived at the partnership at The Pocket Parks Collective, in Colombia, to address their local social context and needs. I find this a good way to connect with people and understand the country, which providing a contrast for similar pieces done in Hong Kong.
Colombia first got my attention when I heard about Ciclovia, Spanish for bike lanes, when main streets in a city are blocked to make way for cyclists and pedestrians on a Sunday. It first started in Bogota, capital of Colombia, in the 1970s, and it remains a staple event in the city, and it has since spread to many cities around the world.
Coincidentally, Colombia is also the country with the country with highest sense of self-reporting happiness. This intrigues me as it is a country that until recently is plagued by violence and poverty; and a stark contrast to the safe and prosperous Hong Kong where people live comfortably but feel stuck in life. Perhaps there is some secret to happiness which I could unlock and bring back to Hong Kong.
Why Latin America?
Latin America is one of the further place geographically and culturally from Hong Kong. I am intrigued by the seemingly care-free and living in the moment lifestyle, and how music and dancing is a big part of people’s lives. Also, I have a deep curiosity towards colorful and cultures.
Follow my journey by visiting the Blog.