The Cities This Week: Edition 6

Medellin has been named the world's most innovative city.

Medellin has been named the world’s most innovative city.                        Photo: Fuente Proexport


Medellin, in Colombia, has been named the world’s most innovative city in a competition organised by the non-profit Urban Land Institute. Medellin, once known for being the stronghold of the Medellin drugs cartel, beat Tel Aviv and New York. The institute said Medellin had excelled in increasing the mobility of citizens living in poor communities. The city has an efficient metro and cable car system, which allows people to access the city centre easily.


It’s all happening so fast that locals can hardly believe it. In a move first announced publicly only on Thursday afternoon (28 Feb), Berlin developers attempted this morning (1 March) to tear up and remove one of the last still-standing pieces of the Berlin Wall. Part of an intact 1400-yard stretch flanking the eastern bank of Berlin’s River Spree, a 25-yard chunk has been abruptly slated for removal, despite being protected by national monument status. It’s being demolished primarily to create space for a Jenga-like 14-story luxury apartment block, going by the rather absurd name of Living Levels, as well as to provide better site access for the construction of a new footbridge.


The 2013 Design Indaba launched this week. The event encompasses five days of the best of South Africa’s creative industry. This year’s Design Indaba will feature 30 local and international speakers at the Design Indaba Conference to be held Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC); showcase high-end, home-grown design at the Design Indaba Expo; present the Design Indaba FilmFest and host 32 musicians at eight venues across the City. Also in the Mother City this week: World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 launched the four themes that will shape and focus the year-long programme of design events and activities.


Marseille has been selected as the European Capital of Culture in 2013.  Marseille kicked off the year with a celebration featuring a contemporary art trail, a Light Parade, treasure hunts and Revelations on the Rhone River as a taste of things to come in the year ahead. The citizens of the Marseille-Provence region have worked together to offer the best in terms of creation, knowledge and innovation.


President Obama has announced that he plans to create a new federal department at the cabinet level called the Department of Cities. Although the President has listed many issues that he would like to focus on in his second term, such as immigration, gun control and climate change, this initiative to create a more promising future for American cities could define the President’s term and create a lasting legacy.


A billboard in Lima, Peru, created by ad agency Mayo DraftCFB in collaboration with the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC), captures the air’s humidity and turns it into potable water for Lima residents. Lima is referred to as a “desert megacity” where many residents cope with inadequate access to clean drinking water. The agency and university formed a team to produce what they refer to as the first billboard that produces drinking-water out of air.


From America’s capital of industry to its capital of decay, Detroit’s post-industrial run hit another pile of bricks today when Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced he’ll be naming an emergency manager to oversee the troubled city, putting the city government under state control. Snyder’s pick will have the power to sell city assets and cancel contracts to try to address Detroit’s more than $14 billion in long-term debt and avoid bankruptcy.