Bogotá: A Model of Urban
Happiness
Key: AWL to Study, Low-frequency Vocabulary
Where is Bogotá? What is urban happiness?
Inspired Leadership
• Former mayor Enrique Peñalosa transformed Bogotá.
 once corrupt, crime-infested, polluted, and congested
 now stands as a model for the development of urban
happiness
What changes do you think Peñalosa made?
Mayor’s Comprehensive Policies
• limited automobile usage
• emphasis on public transit, parks, bike paths, and
public spaces
How might citizens benefit from limited automobile
usage? Can you think of any possible disadvantages?
Happiness Economics
• The mayor’s decision was based on the principles of
happiness economics.
 A population’s level of happiness
is a greater measure of
success than per capita
income or the strength
of national currency.
In your opinion, what makes people happy?
Principles of Happiness Economics
• sense of safety through trust and positive interaction
 Peñalosa created world’s longest pedestrian walkway
 Freeways are closed every Sunday: two million people interact
in a huge festival.
• sense of equality
 Income gaps create unhappiness for the poor.
 Mayor organized free concerts and firework displays
accessible to rich and poor.
 instituted bike pathways so cyclists (poorest sector of the
population) feel sense of entitlement
Explain how Peñalosa created a sense of safety and
equality for his citizens.
Equality in Transportation
• Peñalosa put money into TransMileno.



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rapid transit bus system with dedicated bus lanes
minimal investment
cuts emissions
transports more than
one million people
per day
Describe the transit system in your city.
Sanctions on Driving
• Instead of building huge network of elevated freeways




imposed sanctions on driving during rush hour.
banned parking on sidewalks.
instigated a car-free day.
levied a gas tax.
Do you think sanctions should be placed on driving in
your city?
People over Cars
• developed public spaces, parks, libraries, and schools
• supplied running water
for the poor
• trees planted in marginal
neighborhoods
Do you agree or disagree with the policies implemented
by Peñalosa?
Peñalosa: A Visionary
• changed the mindset of a city
 improved crime and poverty rates and traffic congestion
 created a sense of pride, self-esteem, and belonging
 qualitative difference over time
What is a visionary? How was Peñalosa a visionary?
Complete Turnaround
• People abandoned pessimistic outlooks.
• They now feel a sense of pride.
 Bogotá prioritizes social interaction and socio-economic
equality.
 Murder rates and automobile fatalities are down.
Do you feel a sense of pride about your city or country?
Explain.
Mayor Changes Attitudes
• Peñalosa sought to change negative attitudes about
the cool, rainy weather.
 Climate is due to Bogotá being located on an elevated
plateau.
• New slogan: Bogotá: 2,600 meters closer to the stars!
Describe how the mayor transformed Bogotá using the
principles of happiness economics.
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Bogotá: A Model of Urban Happiness