Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bogota and Curitiba's Sustainable Cities

Both Bogota and Curitiba took similar routes in planning their cities because these cities were faced with the same issues; population growth which resulted in traffic clogged streets. In addition, both cities were moving towards unsustainable transportation planning methods. Before Penalosa and Lerner took office as mayor of Bogota and Curitiba respectively, there were confronted with efforts being made to demolish buildings and widen streets to allow more cars to travel. Both Penalosa and Lerner saw this as unsustainable and counterintuitive. They believe that more consideration should be given to pedestrians and with a rising population it would become more important to provide safe and accessible walkways because otherwise, automobile dependency would continue to skyrocket, leaving both cities with insufficient street space to hold cars.
One thing both Bogota and Curitiba have in common is that they have implemented similar Bus Rapid Transit systems to improve commuter experience and to cut traffic with mass-transportation. Bogota's "Alameda de Porvenir", a multi-use transit path that connects many important nodes in the city is analogous to Curitiba's system of interconnected green open spaces. Both of these undertakings have created safe places for walkers and bikers alike, allowing them to escape from the perils of high traffic avenues. Finally, both cities have also been dealing with the expanding slums right outside each cities peripheries. In Bogota, urban poverty prompted many of the new, successful planning changes which occurred during Penalosa's mayoral term. In Curitiba, where city life has remained of high quality for almost all residents, still experiences the disadvantages of urban poverty. While Lerner was mayor, he created a program for slum dwellers to clean their compounds and in return, they would receive nutritious food from the government. In both cases, however, urban poverty and slum prevalence have been a key element to the improvement of quality of life in these areas.
These two cities also have a few differing characteristics. In Curitiba, more emphasis has been given to pedestrians in that the system of interlinked parks and open green space have served to complement and supplement other inner city initiatives like the Bus Rapid Transit system. In the video we watched on Bogota, however, there were no green infrastructure implementations. In addition, Curitiba seems to have dealt with urban poverty issues in more depth than Bogota by creating the waste for food program and they have even transferred all of those living in one slum to an area with roads and proper sanitation. Lastly, Bogota has had to deal with other hurdles regarding public transportation which Curitiba has not and that is the corrupt ownership of the private bus system.

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