Much has been said about the dizzying growth of the world’s cities, but few people know what urban growth really looks like. Births and migration are concentrated in developing countries and, with the exception of China, most of the new urban fabrics are informal – more slums than skyscrapers. Despite all our futuristic musings, the city of tomorrow is unlikely to be much different from Rocinha.
In the twentieth century, the Brazilian government tried to eradicate the favelas and replace them with more formal public housing, but bulldozers could not keep up with the massive urban migration that caused these settlements to swell.
Other governments and planners have also tried to prevent such settlements from forming or to dismantle them when they do, but this has proven to be a losing strategy. More … than 2 billion people in the world are now estimated to live there.
In the early 2000s, the city of Medellín, Colombia, initiated a calculation process that would inspire the world. Colonies had formed in the mountains and the city was committed to serving these communities as it would any other. He began by building a network of cable cars, rising above the land that had long divided the city.
Efforts to eradicate these communities have given way to incorporation; the government chose them as sites for new libraries and public parks. the Medellin model, despite some shortcomings, has since become the gold standard in Latin America and the world.