Alejandro Echeverri specializes in the transformation of cities and their environmental and inclusion processes in urban settings around Latin America.
By Asael Villanueva | CONECTA National News Desk - 02/15/2022 Photo Abigaíl Guzmán

The internationally acclaimed architect Alejandro Echeverri, one of the people behind the urban and social transformation of Medellín, Colombia, has joined Tec de Monterrey as a distinguished professor.

This Colombian urban planner joins the School of Architecture, Art, and Design (EAAD for its initials in Spanish) as part of the Tec’s Faculty of Excellence initiative, which is focused on attracting extraordinary and internationally recognized professors.

“We have the important task of helping to improve people’s outcomes and quality of life, and cities have a lot to do with that,” says Echeverri.

Previously a distinguished visiting professor at the EAAD, Echeverri will now participate in Tec de Monterrey’s national urban transformation initiatives. 

He has played a leading role in improving urban environments in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, India, and other countries, as well as in developing environmental and social inclusion processes.


El arquitecto y urbanista se une como parte de la iniciativa Faculty of Excellence del Tec


Supporting the transformation of Medellín and turning it into a model to follow

Alejandro Echeverri is Director and Co-founder of the URBAM Center for Urban and Environmental Studies at EAFIT University in Medellín.

For a decade, he has collaborated with Tec de Monterrey on some of its urban initiatives such as DistritoTec, an urban improvement project involving the area surrounding the Monterrey campus.

The urban planner, together with the mayor of Medellín, Sergio Fajardo, has worked on social urban planning projects to improve impoverished districts and neighborhoods in the city, turning it into a model for the future of other cities in the developing world.

“I got to lead the urban transformation of Medellín with a social urban planning strategy... making Medellín an international point of reference,” says Echeverri.

He has been recognized with the National Architecture Award from the Colombian Society of Architects, the Urban Design Award from the Pan-American Biennial, the Curry Stone Design Prize, and the 10th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design from Harvard.


“We have the important task of helping to improve people’s outcomes and quality of life, and cities have a lot to do with that.”



Arriving at Tec de Monterrey as a distinguished professor

Echeverri came to Tec de Monterrey as part of its Faculty of Excellence initiative, which focuses on recruiting outstanding and world-renowned professors.

“This approach has been in the works for several years. The Tec’s directors were very interested in the question of cities and how to link the process of improving people’s lives with that of improving Mexican cities.”

Echeverri says that part of his job is to actively participate in Tec de Monterrey’s initiatives and programs.

“My relationship with the Tec began 10 to 12 years ago. At that time, Mexican cities made a big impression on me. I think a lot of progress has been made, (for example) in the DistritoTec and the transformation of the Monterrey campus,” he added.


Alejandro Echeverri ha participado en iniciativas de transformación urbana en ciudades como Medellín en Colombia


He also highlighted other initiatives, such as city laboratories in different cities across Mexico, which he says he collaborated on together with the Tec’s City Observatory.

This City Observatory recently carried out a proximity index with information on 75 Mexican cities and their infrastructure in health, education, supply chains, and other factors.

“There are a lot of processes that didn’t exist 10 years ago, and I think the Tec has been very important in laying the foundations.

“They’re inviting me to continue working on this project and to see what else we can do in this regard,” says Echeverri.


The challenges of Mexican cities

Echeverri was the first Latin American to win Japan’s Obayashi Prize, awarded for his work in city development in 2016.

This prize is awarded every two years by the Obayashi Foundation and is one of the prizes that recognizes work aimed at improving urban life through social initiatives.

The urban planner smiles as he notes that these awards give a different meaning to his job, making it more visible and validating the work he does. 

However, he insists that it increases his commitment to confronting the challenges in Latin American cities, which can and should be solved through urban planning.

“I want 7- and 8-year-old boys and girls to be able to run around on their own without any danger, knowing that they’ll be safe when crossing the road.

“They can leave their homes and meet up with their classmates and friends in a nearby park in a green city, and they can get around on bicycles without being run over by cars,” says Echeverri.


“I want 7- and 8-year-old boys and girls to be able to run around on their own without any danger, knowing that they’ll be safe when crossing the road.”


Echeverri se especializa en la transformación de las ciudades, así como sus procesos ambientales y de inclusión social en los entornos urbanos


Since being included as a professor among the Faculty of Excellence, the Colombian architect says he’s looking to continue his work and pursue this development in cities throughout Mexico and Latin America.

“I believe that the Tec now has a very considerable reputation across Latin America, and I think its role in this matter, not just in Mexico but also in Latin America, could have a major impact.

“I would like to be associated in some way with the idea that my work and efforts have played a part in the process of improving our society and our city,says the Tec professor.


El también cofundador y director del Centro de Estudios Urbanos y Ambientales participará en las iniciativas de transformación urbana del Tec a nivel nacional




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