Medellin, Colombia has beaten off 38 other cities to be named as the winner of the biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, which is awarded by the Singapore government.
Although the city’s transformation has been widely recognised, the Nominating Committee wrote in a statement released to Cities Today, that the city has built upon this in the last several years.
“Within a span of just two decades, Medellin had overcome challenges of uncontrolled urban expansion, and transformed itself from a notoriously violent city to one that is being held up as a model for urban innovation,” the statement reads. “Since being named a Special Mention City of the 2014 prize, Medellin has made further improvements, such as the further reduction in homicide rates.”
The committee also made special mention of the political will, bold leadership and long-term plans shown by the three mayors that have governed the city over the past 12 years, which have helped tackle security problems, developed the economy and improved its citizens’ employability and quality of life.
The current Mayor of Medellin, Federico Guitierez Zuluaga, said: “This is an important recognition that we feel proud of for our city. We thank you for the encouragement to continue working for our city, a spectacular city that has come a long way but also has a long way to go.”
Zuluaga’s predecessor, Anibal Gaviria Correa, who left office in December 2015, echoed his sentiments: “Winning the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a true honour and a motivation to continue building a city for the life for our citizens; more humane, equal, free and happier. With Medellin receiving this award, we hope this inspires and gives hope to other cities facing similar challenges.”
The four other cities selected for a Special Mention are Auckland, Sydney, Toronto and Vienna.