Medellín – Colombia

Several cities around the world are reinventing themselves to make life better for all residents — and in the process, carving a path for the rest of us to solve some of the most pressing challenges in urban design. The New York Times visited six cities across five continents to discover what we can learn from creative city initiatives.

Medellín, Colombia, once considered one of the world’s most dangerous places, has become a model for urban renewal through the creation of visionary public architecture and transportation infrastructure. Residents in rural areas can gain access to the city center, along with the jobs and services available there, by cable car.

In Durban, South Africa, a transit hub called Warwick Junction has nine specialty markets, where people can buy crafts, herbs, clothing and food. In the past decade, the Durban government has invested in the market and invited street traders to help with plans to redesign their own spaces.

The city of Lisbon has begun numerous initiatives to boost the amount of public green spaces in hopes of providing cool spots during summer.

In Paris, there is an effort to incorporate climate action goals into investments in transportation. A new plan will add 111 miles of secure bike lanes. The city has also become adept at recycling buildings to preserve character while updating them for new uses.

In Sydney, Australia, areas that were once mostly office spaces have been transformed into living spaces with plenty of entertainment and pedestrian-friendly roads. Another program has helped return native foliage to its natural landscape.

The city of Singapore started the Park Connector program, a network of trails that stretches nearly 19 miles around the island with on-ramps that are easy to find. The system encourages people to travel by walking, jogging, skating or cycling.

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