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Medellin’s Comuna 13 Shows Why All Great Public Spaces Should Be Kid-Friendly

Jaime Lerner defines urban acupuncture as a series of small-scale, highly focused interventions that have the capacity to regenerate or to begin a regeneration process in dead or damaged spaces and their surroundings.

Rather than urban acupuncture, the intervention that took place in the rugged geography of Medellin’s Comuna 13 was like an open-heart surgery, a large-scale action aimed at bringing about physical and social change of what was once one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the world’s most dangerous city.

The bilingual guides take us through the neighbourhood, showing us the escalators that gave the intervention worldwide fame. At the same time, in one of the many refurbished squares, a CNN team records interviews with locals and foreigners who visit by the hundreds what was, until recently, an unlikely tourist destination. A drone flies over the scene, we do not know if it is operated by the omnipresent police, CNN or tourists.

Clearing The Mind: Björk Explains Walking's Benefits For Mental Health And The Creative Process

Clay Cockrell, a psychotherapist from New York (where there are so many psychotherapists that they could have their own neighborhood) takes her sessions outdoors. These sessions specifically entail walking, in places like Central Park or Battery Park, or wherever else the client prefers to go, as the location of the consultation is totally flexible. Though her method and fees are relatively similar to any other psychotherapist, the one marked difference is the environment in which the doctor-patient interaction takes place. The typical sofa, leather chair, Persian rug and prop library are all replaced with the street´s pavement, gravel or the park where the patient chooses to go.

Walking is much more than covering a certain distance by foot. It is also one of the most basic tools to achieve what is commonly referred to as “clearing the mind.” Walking is a free resource, easily accessible and almost always available, and facilitates the return to a calmer world where the mind can make connections free of interferences with the body, and the body, in turn, can connect with the ground that it walks on and the environment it is surrounded by.