Federation for
Housing and

Medellin hosting World Urban Forum 7

The World Urban Forum (WUF) 7 (5-11 April 2014) has provided, in a rich accumulation of discussions on global urban matters of all parts of the world.

On arrival in Medellin

The World Urban Forum staff was awaiting the participants of the congress, taking care of the lost foreigners, still dizzy just having left the planes from all over the world. All information was available, so was free transport to the city. A warm welcome to Medellin! Also at the congress venue, it was hard to get lost as the big venue space was provided with indications and the staff, all English speaking, was extremely helpful. The Medellinenses were proud and happy to show their city to the broad public. It was a bit of an invasion; around 22.000 participants of all over the world joined the Urban Forum. People say it was the best UN Habitat World Urban Forum up until now.


Medellin, a city of 2,5 million inhabitants

Medellin has become globally known for its innovation in sustainable urban and social development. Public transport is high on the agenda, materialized in an integrated metro and metro-bus transport system that connects the edges of the city. Public investments have been allocated to public libraries, squares, parks and public transportation (including metro cable cars and an escalator) to the poor areas, mostly informal, located on the hills surrounding the rest of the city. Combatting violence and crime are priorities, so is fighting social inequalities and illegality. The approach is integrated, including social and physical interventions and involving both public as private actors. Furthermore, the city has beautiful buildings, both modern and historical, and public spaces. Also the basic buildings (common housing and social housing) show a quality.


The beautiful surroundings of this city in a valley also reveal clearly that the city has great problems. The large areas of informal settlements being located on the green hills are impressive and shocking. Inequality, informality and poverty are enormous challenges. This is not only the case in the informal areas, also in the ‘formal city’, socio-economic inequalities are very present and there are many undefined, dirty or poor areas.


The current policies have resulted in an important socioeconomic, physical and political turnaround of the city, however, security and social problems are still far from resolved.


More information

So much has been discussed at the WUF7! Some impressions can be read in the blog: IFHP at World Urban Forum 7, Medellin "


The following series of photos give an impression of the city. At first sight, the city of Medellin, its organization of the enormous WUF7 event, its urban politics and its very friendly inhabitants have been impressive.