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Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Transforming Bogotá

Lots of folks have heard of the positive changes in transport in Bogotá, Colombia, including things like the Transmilenio BRT system, bike lanes, and the ciclovia. But I don’t think most folks are familiar with all that happened and the journey to get there.

A 2009 Danish documentary called “Bogotá Change” does a good job of telling the story. I’ve only been able to find it online in a seven part You Tube series, which I’m presenting here. It’s an hour long documentary, but strongly recommended for anyone thinking about how to transform their city, especially how to transform the culture, expectations, and norms of behavior.

Most Americans probably think first of Mayor Enrique Peñalosa as the poster child for this transformation. And we see a lot of him in the film. But less well known is another mayor who played arguably a more crucial role in setting the stage, particularly for the cultural change. That was Antanas Mockus. Mockus is even more colorful than Peñalosa, if that’s possible.

To give you an incentive to watch this, I’ll share two brief anecdotes from the film. The first is that Mockus came to fame because he publicly mooned people who were heckling him. The second is that Mockus disbanded the entire notoriously corrupt traffic squad of the police department and replaced them with mimes that shamed drivers into better behaviors. I’m not making this up. So like I said, watch the film.

Part One. If it doesn’t display, click here.

Part Two. If it doesn’t display, click here.

Part Three. If it doesn’t display, click here.

Part Four. If it doesn’t display, click here.

Part Five. If it doesn’t display, click here.

Part Six. If it doesn’t display, click here.

Part Seven. If it doesn’t display, click here.

Thanks to Henry Lanham for sharing this video with me originally.

2 Comments
Topics: Economic Development, Public Policy, Public Safety, Strategic Planning, Transportation, Urban Culture
Cities: Bogotá

2 Responses to “Transforming Bogotá”

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is Bogota, Colombia. No Columbia. Thanks

  2. Eric Leach says:

    Absolutely mind-boggling. I live in Manila and that is the type of change and leadership we need. But to step away from the “rogue genius” model of history it seems that there was a huge desire for change that was the underlying reason for success. Also the there was the full-on war on the cartels that was being waged with heavy support from the US. Remember that Penalosa, the other rogue reformer was already the front-runner before Mockus broke onto the scene. But to give Mockus his due he implemented many radical out of the box ideas that were quite successful.I just wanted to point out that there were other underlying factors in his success.

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