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Urban innovation in Cali and Bogotá

Colombia has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past fifteen years. The armed conflict that arose in the mid-twentieth century, aggravated by organized crime and drug trafficking, generated a massive wave of displaced people seeking refuge in the cities. This flow was in addition to the regular flow of immigrants from rural to urban areas that took place in Latin America as a whole during the same period. Colombian cities were unable to assimilate such rapid growth, and suffered a significant deterioration in living conditions. This was particularly so in medium-sized cities, such as Cali, which had relatively high living standards before the conflict erupted. Bogotá, as the capital and most populated city in Colombia, attracted the largest number of displaced people, giving rise to large slums in the south. Both cities became the target of attacks from armed groups, and became isolated under the fear of constant threat. Read more.