Residents of one of the poorest areas of Medellin, in Colombia, will no have access to a giant outdoor escalator divided in six sections and ascends nearly 384m. (photo, from 20min.ch)
Until now, in order to get home from the city centre, people living in the Comuna 13 district – one of the city’s poorest and most violent neighbourhoods – had to climb the equivalent of a 30-storey building, as the area clings to a steep hillside.
The escalator, which is free to use, will shorten a half-hour walk to about five minutes for about 12,000 residents of Comuna 13.
It is the latest in a series of transport infrastructure projects that are helping to transform Medellin. It also has a modern metro system and some other hillside neighbourhoods are served by cable cars.
According to the mayor of Medellin the $7m escalator is the first project of its kind in the world aimed specifically at the poor.
The authorities hope that combined with other social projects, the giant escalator will help integrate the residents of Comuna 13 with the rest of the city and the wider economy.
In the 1980s Medellin was known as the murder capital of the world and a major drug-trafficking centre. However in recent years the city has undergone a renaissance.