In just a few years, innovative planning transformed Bogotá, Colombia into the world’s leading model for sustainable urban design. The once polluted and congested city, where many people were unable to reach vital destinations, now has one of the world’s most efficient and accessible transportation networks. The Seminar will allow international visitors—many from cities that suffer problems similar to those that plagued Bogotá—to witness these successes first hand.
Visitors were greeted Thursday by the world’s largest Car Free Day, during which the entire city of 135 square miles (35,000 hectares) was free of private motorized vehicles ? an event first undertaken three years ago to publicize the positive results of curbed automobile use. During the four-day seminar, attendees will witness Bogotá‘s other achievements, including:
- Latin America’s largest network of bicycle routes, 150 miles long (250 km);
- A world-class Bus Rapid Transit system of dedicated bus lanes called TransMilenio;
- The world’s longest pedestrian-only street, spanning 10.2 miles (17 km); and hundreds of miles of sidewalks, many through the city’s poorest neighborhoods;
- Car-Free Sunday, when many streets are closed to motorized traffic to make space for thousands of cyclists and pedestrians.
The International Seminar includes elected officials, technical advisors, academics, representatives from international institutions, urban planners, transportation specialists, environmental experts, and representatives from civic groups. The delegations will exchange knowledge, experiences, projects and challenges with the leaders of Bogotá‘s transformation.
Current Bogotá Mayor Antanas Mockus and high-level Bogotá officials will give presentations on the transportation and public space projects that have been so successful in their city. Many of the world’s leading experts in transportation planning and urban design will give presentations on international efforts to improve public transportation, provide bicycle and pedestrian facilities, promote better use of public space and reduce automobile dependence.
Representatives from China, Indonesia, India, Iran, Bangladesh, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Italy, France, England, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland are attending.
The International Seminar is co-hosted by Fundación Ciudad Humana, based in Bogotá.