David Yu/Flickr

Ein Licht unter den Städten

NEW YORK – Im vergangenen Monat kam es in Medellín, Kolumbien, zu einer bemerkenswerten Zusammenkunft. Etwa 22.000 Menschen trafen dort beim World Urban Forum zusammen, um die Zukunft der Städte zu diskutieren. Im Blickpunkt stand dabei die Schaffung von „Städten für das Leben“ – d.h., die Förderung einer gerechten Entwicklung in städtischen Räumen, wo schon jetzt eine Mehrheit der Menschen weltweit lebt und wo bis 2050 zwei Drittel der Menschheit leben werden.

Der Ausrichtungsort selbst war symbolisch: Einst berüchtigt für seine Drogenbanden, genießt Medellín inzwischen einen wohlverdienten Ruf als eine der innovativsten Städte der Welt. Die Geschichte von der Verwandlung der Stadt hält wichtige Lehren für städtische Räume überall parat.

In den 1980er und 1990er Jahren beherrschten Kartellbosse wie der berüchtigte Pablo Escobar die Straßen von Medellín und kontrollierten seine Politik. Die Quelle von Escobars Macht war nicht bloß der (von der Nachfrage in den USA angeheizte) enorm gewinnträchtige internationale Kokainhandel, sondern auch die extreme Ungleichheit in Medellín und Kolumbien insgesamt. An den steilen Hängen des die Stadt umspannenden Andentales boten riesige, von der Regierung faktisch aufgegebene Slums den Kartellen eine stetige Zufuhr an Rekruten. In Ermangelung öffentlicher Dienstleistungen gewann Escobar die Herzen und Köpfe der Ärmsten von Medellín durch seine Großzügigkeit für sich – selbst als er die Stadt terrorisierte.

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