Mike’s Bogota Blog: A Beautiful – and Fantastical

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Mike’s Bogota Blog: A Beautiful – and Fantastical

A hiking trail through Bogotá’s Eastern Hills.

Last year, the Museo de Bogotá (located on Carrera 4 and Calle 10, in La Candelaria) put on this exhibit about Bogotá’s fantastical future – clearly a vision of the administration of current Mayor Enrique Peñalosa. And it’s a nice visition, with a fully developed multi-modal transit system (subway, expanded TransMilenio, cable cars to hillside neighborhoods, and bike lanes), green corridors, high-density neighborhoods and other wonders. 

Inside the Museo de Bogotá.

It’s a beautiful vision for a city with lots of problems with chaotic development, lack of green space, danger for cyclists and walkers, terrible traffic jams and pollution, and on and on. Naturally, the vision fits technocrat Peñalosa’s ideas about low-cost bus rapid transit and the democratizing effects of pleasant public spaces.

‘The capital of the bicycle.’

What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, human nature. Will the city actually fund such projects, or will the money be stolen by corrupt functionaries or designated for projects which are more populist but have dubious urban impacts, such as highways or sports stadiums. And, while Bogotá debates such projects thru succeeding mayors, with varying priorities, the city will continue growing, legally and illegally, individual residents paying little attention to the mayors’ visions. Meanwhile, the number of cars will continue exploding, gridlocking the city’s avenues, poisoning its air and increasing pressure to pave over even more land.

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