A Day in New York With Enrique Peñalosa
An accomplished public official, economist and administrator, Enrique Peñalosa completed his three-year term as Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia on December 31, 2000. While mayor, Peñalosa was responsible for numerous radical improvements to the city and its citizens. He promoted a city model giving priority to children and public spaces and restricting private car use, building hundreds of kilometers of sidewalks, bicycle paths, pedestrian streets, greenways, and parks. After organizing a Car-Free Day in 2000, he was awarded the Stockholm Challenge Award and rewarded by a referendum vote endorsing an annual car-free day and the elimination of all cars from streets during rush hours from 2015 onwards.
Thanks to his extensive efforts to make Bogota a greener, more livable city, Peñalosa now serves as an adviser and model to the Bloomberg administration, which in recent years has undertaken the serious work of greening New York City.
He currently works with Project for Public Spaces, a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build communities.
While Mayor, Peñalosa also led efforts to improve Bogotá's marginal neighborhoods through citizen involvement; planted more than 100,000 trees; created a new, highly successful bus-based transit system; and turned a deteriorated downtown avenue into a dynamic pedestrian public space. He helped transform the city's attitude from one of negative hopelessness to one of pride and hope, developing a model for urban improvement based on the equal rights of all people to transportation, education, and public spaces.
Question: What is your favorite part of New York?
Penalosa: Well, I love to ride my bicycle. I have had a small apartment in New York, a very small apartment, and I will say that I go around my neighborhood by a bicycle. I go through the village. I go through the East Village. I go through China Town. I like to go across the bridges by bicycle. I love to take the beautiful Hudson River Park bicycle way and go all the way up to Riverside Park and then to all the way to Harlem to go riding around there, to ride around the city college campus up town and I don't know.
What is a particular place that I like? Well, I like more of the area that I know more, which is all the area around the East Village and the -- all this area I enjoy. There is a lot of life and a lot of people. The Union Square area.
The former mayor of Bogotá and urban strategist describes his fondness for the East Village.
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Photo credit: Jie Zhao / Getty contributor
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