A Tale of Two Mayors

| April 22, 2002 Issue

A Tale of Two Mayors: The improbable story of how Bogota, Colombia, became somewhere you might actually want to live, Lisa Jones, Grist
A seven-year makeover has transformed Bogota, Colombia, from a hub of drug trafficking, violence, pollution, and corrupt politics to a model city for clean air and a strong community. As Lisa Jones reports in Grist Magazine, the transformation can be traced to two of Bogota's vigilant and motivated mayors, Enrique Penalosa and Antanus Mockus. Although Latin American cities such as Bogota generally suffer from a lack of urban planning (an oversight that has led to the creation of slums, an inadequate waste disposal system, and the apathy of the citizens who live in such conditions), Bogota's mayors were undaunted: Penalosa cut dependence on the automobile and invested more in public transit and an extensive bikeway system, while Mockus generated public interest and involvement with "sheer wackiness." One of his antics included educating the populace about citizenship while strolling through the city as "Super Citizen," complete with blue and red tights.
--Julie Madsen
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