Bogotá: A Model of Urban
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
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.
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
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
 Murder rates and automobile fatalities are down.
Do you feel a sense of pride about your city or country?
Mayor Changes Attitudes
• Peñalosa sought to change negative attitudes about
the cool, rainy weather.
 Climate is due to Bogotá being located on an elevated
• New slogan: Bogotá: 2,600 meters closer to the stars!
Describe how the mayor transformed Bogotá using the
principles of happiness economics.

Bogotá: A Model of Urban Happiness