Obstacles to Building Equitable Cities with Enrique Peñalosa | reSITE Small Talk

For Enrique Peñalosa, improving cities means increasing the quality of life in public spaces that create equality between citizens. He argues that inequality is the biggest obstacle to creating cities with a healthy democracy, especially when the last hundred years we’ve built our cities for cars and not people. He drives the importance of creating public spaces like sidewalks, parks, cultural activities, bike lanes, spaces where people meet each other and children can play where and where both wealthy and underprivileged populations intersect and share resources as equals.

Enrique Peñalosa is the former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia, serving two terms (1998-2001, 2016-2019). Under his first term, Peñalosa was instrumental in the transformation of Bogota from one of the world’s most violent cities, focusing on the expansion of public services and institutions. This included the now-famous TransMilenio bus system, expansions of public parks and libraries, and expansion of bike paths. Peñalosa further tried to limit automobile congestion via limitations on rush hour traffic and often clashed with wealthier residents in the city in order to prioritize the expansion of public spaces. During his second term, he expanded the TransMilenio network and oversaw a number of other major infrastructure projects, including numerous new public schools and public hospitals.

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