Things Magazine pointed us over to a good read at Celsias, “Designing Cities for People, Rather than Cars…” by writer Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute. In part, it talks about the transformation of Bogota, Columbia at the hands of its Mayor, Enrique Penalosa, who actively sought to foster design in growing city centers that were kept free of cars. And surprisingly, it’s worked. The second part of the essay talks about the build of other cities across the world and their dependence on congested motorways; what works (Amsterdam) and what doesn’t (Atlanta). Going back, here’s a bit about Bogota:
Penalosa realized that a city that is a pleasant environment for children and the elderly would work for everyone. In just a few years, he transformed the quality of urban life with his vision of a city designed for people. Under his leadership, the city banned the parking of cars on sidewalks, created or renovated 1,200 parks, introduced a highly successful bus-based rapid transit system, built hundreds of kilometers of bicycle paths and pedestrian streets, reduced rush hour traffic by 40 percent, planted 100,000 trees, and involved local citizens directly in the improvement of their neighborhoods. In doing this, he created a sense of civic pride among the city’s 8 million residents, making the streets of Bogota, in strife-torn Colombia, safer than those in Washington, D.C.