Major Department

International Studies


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2018

Honors Major Advisor

Emily Wentzell

Thesis Mentor

Charles Connerly


Since the rise of social urbanism planning in Medellín in the 1990’s, the city of Medellín has implemented several urban renewal projects aimed at addressing marginalization in Medellín’s informal settlements. Since 2008, the city received dozens of international awards which recognize the city’s urban renewal efforts as innovative, sustainable, and making a humane contribution. This paper compares the rhetoric of four select awards: The Innovative City of the Year Award, the Veronica Rudge Green Prize, Medellín’s winning bid to host the 7th World Urban Forum, and the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize with the results of the 2004-2007 northeastern Integrated Urban Project (PUI). The analysis of this work draws upon four data sources: “objective” statistical data, photographs, and the results of two perception-based surveys. The results of the data conclude that the northeastern PUI intervention fails to live up to the innovative, sustainable, and humane claims of its merits, making only trivial contributions to address existing marginalization. The findings support existing claims that question the merits based on evidence of international policy transfer, neoliberal city modeling, and the limitations of the PUI’s spaces of exception. Additionally, the findings claim that the awards ignore the transformative work of peripheral settlers, arguing that informal model and transformative are not mutually exclusive in addressing Medellín’s marginalization.


Medellín, Integrated Urban Projects, PUI, urban planning

Total Pages

61 pages


Copyright © 2018 Abby Hellem