As you move around the city today, you will see mega-libraries, greenways, 1,000 parks, over 70,000 trees and a state-of-the art transportation system called the TransMilenio, meaning "transcending the millennium." The TransMilenio is an alternative to the chaotic, independently operated bus service that dominated the city in the past. Along with this infrastructure, you'll see people from all walks of life who are out of their cars and enjoying the city: parents strolling with kids, co-workers eating lunch outside, neighbors meeting and talking with one another.
How did this remarkable transition happen to Bogotá? It came out of the vision that Enrique Peñalosa, Bogotá's mayor from 1997 through 2000, had for his city. He wanted to reverse the decades-long norm of poverty, drug cartels and violence, and make citizens proud of the metropolis in which they lived. Peñalosa believed that cities should encourage walking and biking, which would in turn promote community and make the streets safer for children. With these ideas in mind he reformed public transportation, added greenways, built mega-libraries and created the longest stretch of bike-only lanes in the world. Peñalosa's commitment to reducing automobile usage even led to a program called the "pico y placa" ("peak times and license plates"), which greatly restricts the use of private automobiles at peak times.
This episode highlights the story of how one man's vision transformed one of the most chaotic cities in the world into a shining model of urban planning, community development and public transportation. Although by Peñalosa's own admission there is more work to be done, the transformation thus far is remarkable and has been lauded as an example for the world to follow.
2. What issues do designers need to address when thinking about urban planning? Where do interest groups and policymakers come into the picture? What influence do they have on designers and urban planners?
Link to resources to conduct research on these topics.
2. What risks did Peñalosa take in regards to public interest and policy?
3. What was the link Peñalosa made between creating walking and biking lanes and fighting violence?
4. Do you think your community and policymakers would be happy to build more walking and biking lanes in your town/city? Do you think they would support policies to regulate cars on certain streets during certain times? Why?
NATIONAL STANDARDS FROM MCREL STANDARD
Standard 17.6: Understands tradeoffs among characteristics such as safety, function, cost, ease of operation, quality of post-purchase support, and environmental impact when selecting systems for specific purposes.