Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Neighborhood-scaled mural in Bogotá

Photo by Ricardo León Jatem.

I am on the e-list of the Mayor of Bogotá, Enrique Peñalosa, because he is well known as a world leader in local government innovation.

His latest e-letter mentioned a "neighborhood-scaled" mural project in the Los Puentes neighborhood (colonia).

Houses are built into the hillside with "outward-projecting" facades that can be treated as a single canvas, which is what the street artist group, Ink Crew, along with Franco de Colombia, decided to do ("‘El Rio de la Vida’: 213 fachadas de Los Puentes convertidas en el mural más grande de Bogotá," Cartel Urbano).

The work is called "The River of Life," and is painted across 213 houses. Residents were involved in creating the work.

Note that the e-letter also announced changes to the TransMilenio bus rapid transit system, which in some respects has been paralyzed by success and the need for funding for growth.  Even so, it is a best practice example of BRT programs.

-- "After 15 Years of Moving People, Here’s What Bogotá’s BRT Should Do Next," CityFix, 2015
-- "How have recent bus reforms changed accessibility in Bogotá?," World Bank, 2017

Transmilenio was introduced by Mayor Peñalosa in a previous term (although we rarely learn the plan was developed by his predecessor, Antanas Mockus). Similarly, under Mayor Peñalosa the city's pre-existing Ciclava program was re-energized, leading to the development of "Open Streets" programs around the world ("Reclaiming the streets in Bogota," BBC).

Both programs are an example of "world cities" giving to the world, not just taking.

The city also introduced restrictions on automobile use (which people got around by having two cars, one with an even-numbered license plate, the other with an odd-numbered license plate) and began penalizing people for parking in what were supposed to be public spaces.

Gil Peñalosa, the Mayor's brother, is an international consultant with a program, 8 80 Cities, working to bring programs similar to those of Bogotá to other communities.  The name of the program, 8 80 Cities, reflects the belief that cities should be accessible to everyone, from 8 years of age to 80 years of age.

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