Medellín’s Transformation: Towards a More Equitable, Innovative and Participatory Urban Society

Print Share
By the end of the 20th century, Medellín was known for being one of the most violent and murderous cities in the world, a haven for drug trafficking, and a hub of poverty, inequality and social exclusion. However, in less than two decades, Medellín has been able to transform itself into a model of urban planning intervention, social resilience and one of the fastest growing urban economies in Latin America. The city's successful makeover has been achieved through a combination of equity-oriented and innovative policies aimed at poverty alleviation, social inclusion and spatial integration. The case describes the city's strategy and development plans of three consecutive municipal administrations: Mayors Sergio Fajardo (2004-2007), Alonso Salazar (2008 -2011) and Aníbal Gaviria (2012-2015). It summarizes the main projects, programs and initiatives behind the so-called Medellín miracle. The case also analyzes the future challenges of the current municipal government of Mayor Federico Gutiérrez (2016-2020).
Bibliographic citation: Duch, Ana Isabel; Ricart, Joan Enric; Berrone, Pascual, "Medellín’s Transformation: Towards a More Equitable, Innovative and Participatory Urban Society", IESE, SM-1681-E, 07/2019
Date: 12/07/2019
Author(s): Duch, Ana Isabel; Ricart, Joan Enric; Berrone, Pascual
Document type: Case
Editor(s): Cátedra Carl Schroeder de Dirección Estratégica; CGS - Centro de Globalización y Estrategia
Department: Strategic Management
Sector: Public administration and government agencies
Languages: Spanish / English
Year of the events: 2004-2017
Geographic area: Colombia
Learning objective This case is well suited for use by urban managers and consultants, policy makers and other governmental representatives involved in city planning and urban development, especially in cities in developing countries. The case is also appropriate for any course that examines urban development and urban strategy, as well as with MBA students and senior executives. The primary pedagogical objectives of the case are to: 1. analyze the challenges of cities in developing countries; 2. gain insights into urban strategy and urban planning in developing countries; 3. evaluate the pros and cons of urban strategic initiatives and programs; 4. analyze and understand the complex linkages between different dimensions of urban strategy; 5. discuss the drivers for and barriers to successfully implementing the city's development plan.