Resilience as a City Brand: The Cases of the Comuna 13 and Moravia in Medellin, Colombia
2. Theoretical Framework
3. Background Context
4. Materials and Methods
5.1. Resilience as a City Brand
“‘Resilient’ is perhaps the most beautiful and complete adjective that we can use to describe Medellín, because everything else derives from it. Medellín is an innovative, inclusive and forward-thinking city. However, all this has only been possible because of our capacity to overcome the obstacles that we have faced over time.” (p. 4)
“The Medellin resilience team, the Mayor’s office, the City Council, and the comunas themselves have contributed to a highly integrated resilience strategy that is also reflective of the larger changes in the city.” (M. Berkowitz p. 5)
“However, even in the darkest days, we never stopped believing in our city. It was thanks to the communities’ commitment that we managed to progress. The citizens embraced Medellín and transformed it.” (S. Fajardo, p. 4)
“This Colombian city, after decades of violence and drug-traffic, managed to change in the past few years into a model of transformation and resilience for the world. In 2019, the World Economic Forum celebrated Medellin for its high level of investment in science, technology and innovation; the UNESCO declared it ‘Learning City’. […] Medellin was also elected as one of the 100 most resilient cities in the world.”
“Tourism is important not only to promote an image, but also to encourage understanding of the capacity of the society to face crisis […] Colombia converted itself over the past few years into a referent of ‘resilient tourism’, through a focus and state politics that allowed it to overcome crisis and take advantage of the potential of this sector.”
5.2. Resilience vs Resistance in the Tranformation of Moravia
“The urban renovation plan for Moravia is very bad for the neighbourhood. Moravia is not ready for such a plan because it means a ‘clean slate’ [borrón y cuenta nueva] and this is not Moravia. […] If they do an urban renovation plan here, all the social fabric will disappear... All the good of Moravia will be destroyed.”
5.3. Pride and Overtourism in Comuna 13
“Currently, Commune 13 is best known for its graffiti art, break dance choreographies, rap lyrics, electric staircases and Metrocable. This is due to the resilience of its inhabitants, which helped them overcome the stigma left behind by drug trafficking and armed groups like the guerrillas and criminal bands that settled in the territory.”
“The 13th District, or the Comuna 13, is one of Medellin’s most special places. The most western district has been most affected by the extreme violence of Colombia’s armed conflict, but has shown a resilience that is arguably unique worldwide.”
“This place was considered the most dangerous neighbourhood in the country because of the Medellin Cartel led by Pablo Escobar, the guerrillas and paramilitaries. Today, this community is an example of resilience through the arts, like music or graffiti. For example, here you will find the largest urban art gallery of Colombia, public libraries, cultural parks and the first public electric escalators of the country that connected places that were divided by the conflict.”
“Comuna 13 in Medellín—A History of Resilience: The neighbourhood is a place of flourishing culture, of art, music, sport and dancing. Something that nobody would have imagined a few years back. The history of Comuna 13 is one of resilience, of the dream of the people to make their home a better one, a safer one.”
“Colombia is a country of resilience, and no place embodies that attribute quite like Comuna 13.”
“All guests to this area have the fortune to enjoy an outdoor urban art gallery that reflects the metamorphosis of a resilient society that does not stay in the past, but instead looks to the future with great hopes.”
“Contextualized visit based in the story of the city, its resilience and social transformation. While visiting the escalators you can observe the different types of art that surround this place.”
“I feel it as a cool process and that it has good things, like how the people started to manage entrepreneurship… how the señora de las cremas [the ice-cream lady] manages to support her family. But I think we lost what was at its heart; it became a business to show graffiti and to make the visitor pay.”
“You go over there, and the graffiti are very bonitos (pretty), but they do not speak to me. […] People know that this is a business, there are a fair number of foreigners, so random people [tour guides] stand there and pay the vacuna [extortion tax] telling wrong things, false histories… And they [the foreigners] take pictures and leave. This is not a site of memory.”
“What do guides do? They invent stories. They are not true, but the tourists are enthusiastic. And the amount of businesses that opened! Moreover, all the drug and prostitution business takes place near Las Escaleras.”
“There are people who tell lies and others who had to live through all this. Some guides greatly exaggerate things, invent them […] One had to live through many things, but some people tell a lot of mystery, too much fiction.”
“This would be next to Las Escaleras, because here you do not see anything. They set up all the tourism over there. I say that if they are going to talk about the history of the barrio it should take into account the whole comuna.”
“Even the tourists realize this. That not everything is painted pink, painted as is the comuna around Las Escaleras. That everything is lindo [beautiful]. No, not everything is lindo!”
“What did Las Escaleras bring to us? There were people who already had a business and they had to give it up. Not everything was as bonito as they want to show it. […] So what? Did they do Las Escaleras for the barrio or for the tourists?”
“[He] is, by definition, not a secure but an adaptive subject; adaptive in that it is capable of making those adjustments to itself which enable it to survive the hazards encountered in its exposure to the world. In this sense the resilient subject is a subject which must permanently struggle to accommodate itself to the world. Not a political subject who can conceive of changing the world, its structure and conditions of possibility, with a view to securing itself from the world” (p. 74).
“These ‘islands’ attracted a lot of media attention but diverted attention from the underlying problems and created new socio-spatial divides. The choice of this sophisticated intervention to solve a relatively small mobility problem was partially motivated by the policy objective to create something people could be proud of after years of neglect” (p. 199).
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|1||F||Director—NGO (Corporación Región)||Medellin|
|2||F||Museum Curator (Casa Memoria)||Medellin|
|3||F||Colombia Truth Commission||Medellin|
|6||M||Medellin Chief Resilience Officer (100RC)||Medellin|
|7||M||Social Worker (EDU)||Medellin|
|8||F||Social Worker (EDU)||Medellin|
|9||M||Collaborator of the Innovation Center RUTA-N||Medellin|
|10||F||Community Leader (Moravia Resiste)||Medellin|
|11||F||Collaborator—NGO (Casa amarilla)||Medellin|
|12||F||C40 Medellin City Adviser||Medellin|
|13||M||Community Leader—Hip-Hop artist (AgroArte—Comuna 13)||Medellin|
|14||F||Community Leader (Partidos de la Doñas—La Honda)||Medellin|
|15||M||Illegality (paramilitary unit former Cacique Nutibara)||Medellin|
|17||F||Cali Chief Resilience Officer (100RC)||Cali|
|19||M||Resilient Schools Program||Cali|
|20||F||Colombia Truth Comission||Bogota|
|21||F||Director NGO—(Red de Lugares de Memoria)||Bogota|
|22||M||Director—100RC Latin America and the Caribbean||Mexico (video)|
|23||M||Coordinator—UNDRR Making cities Resilient Initiative||Geneva|
|24||M||Director—School (Comuna 13)||Medellin|
|25||M||Illegality (Paramilitary unit former Bloque Metro)||Medellin|
|27||F||Founder—Tourism Organization (Moravia Tour)||Medellin|
|29||M||Municipality Council Member||Medellin|
|30||F||Community Leader (Comuna 13)||Medellin|
|31||F||Community Leader (Moravia)||Medellin|
|32||F||Community Leader (Moravia)||Medellin|
|33||F||Community Leader (Moravia)||Medellin|
|34||M||Illegality (guerrilla—former M19)||Medellin|
|36||F||Community Leader (Partidos de la Doñas—Barrio Escobar)||Medellin|
|37||F||Collaborator—International Urban Cooperation||Medellin|
|38||M||Community Leader (Moravia)||Medellin|
|39||F||Director—NGO (Alianza para la paz)||Bogota|
|41||M||Community Leader—Hip-Hop Artist (Casa Kolacho)||Medellin|
|42||M||Tour Guide (comuna 13)||Medellin|
|43||M||Hip-Hop Artist and Tour Guide (Comuna 13)||Medellin|
|44||M||Founder—Tourism Organization (Comuna 13)||Medellin|
|45||M||Director—Tourism Organization (Red de Turismo de la C13)||Medellin|
|46||M||Nuevos Conquistadores||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|47||M||Nuevos Conquistadores||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|48||M||Nuevos Conquistadores||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|49||F||San Javier||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|50||M||Nuevos Conquistadores||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|51||M||Nuevos Conquistadores||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|52||M||Nuevos Conquistadores||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|53||F||La Pradera||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|54||F||Veinte de Julio||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|55||F||Veinte de Julio||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|56||F||Nuevos Conquistadores||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|57||F||Veinte de Julio||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|58||F||San Javier||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|59||F||Veinte de Julio||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|60||M||El Salado||Comuna 13 (San Javier)|
|61||F||Moravia||Comuna 4 (Moravia)|
|62||M||Moravia||Comuna 4 (Moravia)|
|63||F||Moravia||Comuna 4 (Moravia)|
|64||M||Moravia||Comuna 4 (Moravia)|
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Naef, P. Resilience as a City Brand: The Cases of the Comuna 13 and Moravia in Medellin, Colombia. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8469. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208469
Naef P. Resilience as a City Brand: The Cases of the Comuna 13 and Moravia in Medellin, Colombia. Sustainability. 2020; 12(20):8469. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208469Chicago/Turabian Style
Naef, Patrick. 2020. "Resilience as a City Brand: The Cases of the Comuna 13 and Moravia in Medellin, Colombia" Sustainability 12, no. 20: 8469. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208469