It’s worth watching the video below: Streetfilms-Lessons from Bogotá (and click on the image above). Bogotá’s innovative, visionary mayor Enrique Peñalosa has transformed the city in ways that have made him a sort of rock star in international planning circles. Peñalosa, originally a journalist interested in social justice issues, successfully made urban slums as well as the whole metropolis more livable by largely making Bogotá a bike and express bus city. Instead of concentrating solely on top-down housing projects, he extended lovely, tree-lined bike routes (ciclorutas) and promenades throughout the city including right into illegal slums. The pleasurable bike routes served to naturally lessen car use, which at the same time democratized transit and made the city more navigable, for its poorest inhabitants and commuting workers as well as for its more privileged citizens. Innovative and completely brilliant. When I met with the director of UN Habitat’s New York office this past week, she cited Peñalosa’s methods as the direction the world’s cities should be moving in – making non-car travel more pleasurable, making illegal or naturally occurring, unregulated densities more livable—through carrots, not sticks.
Watch a short video of him speaking about cars, democracy and Bogotá. This was at the World Urban Forum in Vancouver, 2006 (video, 2:33).
Photos from the Flickr Creative Commons (you can click on the photos to see more images from these photographers or comment on their photos).