Enrique Peñalosa

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Peñalosa and the second or maternal family name is Londoño.
Enrique Peñalosa Londoño
Enrique Peñalosa.jpg
798th Mayor of Bogotá
Assumed office
January 1, 2016
Preceded by Gustavo Petro
793rd Mayor of Bogotá
In office
January 1, 1998 – December 31, 2000
Preceded by Paul Bromberg Sylverstein
Succeeded by Antanas Mockus
Personal details
Born (1954-09-30) September 30, 1954 (age 61)
Washington, D.C., United States
Political party Cambio Radical
Other political
Partido Verde, Independent
Alma mater Duke University
International Institute of Public Administration

Enrique Peñalosa Londoño (born September 30, 1954, Washington, D.C.) is a Colombian politician who was mayor of Bogotá from 1998 until 2001, and was re-elected in 2015 for the 2016–2019 term.[1] He has also worked as a journalist and consultant on urban and transportation policy. In 2009, Peñalosa was elected President of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).[2]


Early life[edit]

In his childhood Peñalosa studied at Gimnasio Campestre . After graduating he then moved to Durham, North Carolina in the United States where he studied Economics and History at Duke University. For his graduate education he moved to Paris, France where he completed a Masters and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Université Paris II.


Peñalosa began his political life by attending the liberal presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan's Youth groups of followers in Bogotá while working for the state-owned water supply company, Empresa de Acueducto de Bogotá. He later supported Julio César Sánchez, a Cundinamarca local political chief, who in return, helped him get elected as that department's Deputy.

He later was chosen by president Virgilio Barco, friend of his father, as an economic advisor in 1986. In 1990 he ran for congressman without the support of any politician and got elected with 22,000 votes. He only remained in that position for a year because the Colombian Congress was closed due to corruption and a referendum for a new Colombian Constitution was proposed. However, in those 12 months, he presented many projects and managed to pass with others a reforming law to change congress.

In 1991 he then decided to run for mayor of Bogotá with the same tactics he used to gain his seat for Congress, without the support of any politicians and just by doing face-to-face contact while touring the city walking, biking or riding on public transportation. He ran against Jaime Castro Castro who ultimately won the election. In 1994 he ran for a second time, this time against Antanas Mockus, who defeated him by a large margin.

Mayor of Bogotá[edit]

In 1997 he ran a third time, now facing Carlos Moreno de Caro[3] winning by a close margin of votes.[4] Peñalosa received from Mayor Mockus a city in good fiscal condition and with a District Council that was mostly independent.[4]

Peñalosa included many of his political friends in his cabinet including long time friend Carlos Alberto Sandoval who had worked with him in Barco's presidency and who he appointed as Secretary of Economy, and Gilma Jiménez in the Family Welfare Institute. Enrique's brother Gil Peñalosa became Commissioner of Parks.

During his mayorship he developed five megaprojects: the bank of lands, the District's system of Parks (including the Bogotá's Bike Paths Network), the District's system of libraries, the Transmilenio mass transit system, and road construction and maintenance.[5] The impact of Peñalosa and Antanas Mockus on the development of Bogotá is described in a documentary film released in October 2009 with the title Bogotá Change.[6] It is promoted as being "the story of two charismatic mayors, Antanas Mockus and Enrique Peñalosa who, with unorthodox methods, in less than 10 years turned one of the world's most dangerous, violent and corrupt capitals into a peaceful model city populated by caring citizens. With Mockus and Peñalosa and key members of their staff as first hand witnesses, the film uncovers the ideas, philosophies and strategies that underlie the changes in Bogotá and which are now being exported to cities worldwide."

Controversy during his first term[edit]

Peñalosa was the third in a series of three mayors who vastly changed the face of the city. Mayor Jaime Castro finished his term with low popularity, but was able to reform the city's financial structures. This led to a period of budgetary surpluses, which continued during Antanas Mockus term. Mockus began an important change in Bogotá's civic culture with his Cultura Ciudadana (Citizen Culture) campaign, which encouraged civic behavior and strived to create a sense of belonging for the inhabitants of the city.

Peñalosa's five biggest changes during his period were: the relocation of informal vendors who occupied the public zones and streets, the improvement of all the city parks and the construction of several new ones, the entire renovation of some of the most important avenues of the city such as the Avenue 15 and the Autopista Norte, the removal of cars from sidewalks by raising them and installing bollards, and starting construction on the TransMilenio (Mass Transit System), but during his term less than half of the project was built, the second phase was the responsibility of Luis Eduardo Garzon, his successor, and the third phase is at risk of not being completed because of the new mayor's plans of constructing a Metro system.

Some of his policies were unpopular with certain sectors of the city. Among these were his intent to buy the Country Club of Bogotá to build a public park. He also faced problems when he built bollards along some avenues in highly congested sectors to prevent cars from parking on the sidewalk in front of the buildings and shops. Peñalosa also lost popularity, but improved the city's mobility, by introducing the Pico y Placa, a restriction on the rush hour circulation of private vehicles. (Pico y placa roughly translates to "rush hour and license plate"; during rush hour licence plates ending with a given number couldn't circulate on a specific days of the week, four ending numbers each day, thus about 40% of the vehicles). The construction of the city "Cicloruta" (Translation for "Bike route or Bike way") which are little roads that run along some of the city's main avenues, was another great development of the city as an invitation for people to avoid using his/her private vehicle, and to provide a cheap and healthy transportation route for those who didn't have access to one; but the terrains for the construction of some sections, specially those in front of domestic houses, were in the majority of the cases taken from people without their consent and with no remuneration. The properties legal document wasn't edited either, which means in legal terms that those people still have that part of terrain, and pay taxes on it.

Enrique Peñalosa Londoño at the 2009 Sustainable Transport Awards

Candidate for a second term as Mayor[edit]

Although he was a possible candidate for the 2010 Colombian presidential election and lead the Por el Pais que Queremos Foundation (PPQ), Spanish for "For the Country we Want", he decided to go for a second term in the city hall. He was defeated by Alternative Democratic Pole candidate Samuel Moreno by 15 percentage points.[7]

In 2011, Peñalosa decided to run his candidacy again for the Bogotá city hall, but this time, as the official candidate for the Colombian Green Party.[8] He lost the election to Gustavo Petro who won the mayoral race with 32% of the vote against 25% for Peñalosa.[9]

In 2015 he won the mayoral elections with 33% of the votes, defeating former labour minister Rafael Pardo.[1]

Presidential candidate[edit]

Peñalosa ran for elections in the 2014 presidential election. He represented the Green Party and his Vice Presidential candidate was Isabel Segovia a former Vice Minister of Education.





He has written articles for El Tiempo, Nueva Frontera, Economía Colombiana, Carta Financiera and Revista Diners.



  • Simón Bolívar Journalism Award 1986 for his economy related journalism section in El Espectador newspaper.
  • Simón Bolívar Journalism Award 1990 for his documentary Capitalismo, la mejor opción.


"Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people."[11]

"If you base progress on per capita income, then the developing world will not catch up with rich countries for the next three or four hundred years"[12]

"We need to walk, just as birds need to fly. We need to be around other people. We need beauty. We need contact with nature. And most of all, we need not to be excluded. We need to feel some sort of equality."[13]

"All this (Bogotá's) pedestrian infrastructure shows respect for human dignity. We’re telling people, 'You are important'."[citation needed]

"Every Sunday we close 120 kilometers of roads to motor vehicles for seven hours. A million and a half people of all ages and incomes come out to ride bicycles, jog, and simply gather with others in community."[citation needed]

"A bikeway is a symbol that shows that a citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important as a citizen on a $30,000 car."[14]

"If we’re going to talk about transport, I would say that the great city is not the one that has highways, but one where a child on a tricycle or bicycle can go safely everywhere." [15]

"We cannot continue to deceive ourselves thinking that to paint a little line on a road is a bike way. A bicycle way that is not safe for an 8-year old is not a bicycle way."

"One symbol of lack of democracy is to have cars parked on the sidewalk".[16]

"An advanced city is not a place where the poor move about in cars, rather it's where even the rich use public transportation" [17]

"We're living an experiment. We might not be able to fix the economy. We might not be able to make everyone as rich as Americans. But we can design the city to give people dignity, to make them feel rich. The city can make them happier."[18]


  1. ^ a b "Former Bogotá mayor re-elected after 14 years, defeating Colombia's left". The Guardian. 2015-10-26. Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  2. ^ "'A'bad BRTS is going in the right direction' | Business Standard News". Business-standard.com. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  3. ^ "Esposas Paralelas". Semana.com. 1998-03-16. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  4. ^ a b "DESCERTIFICACION 98". Semana.com. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  5. ^ "Enrique Peñalosa – Biografia Y Fotos". ColombiaLink.com. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  6. ^ "Bogotá forvandling". Dfi.dk. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Peñalosa, candidato único del Partido Verde a la Alcaldía de Bogotá" (in Spanish). Bogotá, Colombia: semana.com. February 1, 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Bogotá elects former guerrilla as mayor". the Guardian. Associated Press. Retrieved 2015-10-08. 
  10. ^ "LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction". Holcimfoundation.org. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  11. ^ Jason F. McLennan (2011-07-13). "Our Children's Cities: The Logic & Beauty of a Child-Centered Civilization by Jason McLennan — YES! Magazine". Yesmagazine.org. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  12. ^ Garry Peterson (2006-06-26). "Peñalosa @ World Urban Forum | Resilience Science". Rs.resalliance.org. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  13. ^ "The Mayor Who Wowed the World Urban Forum | The Tyee". Thetyee.ca. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ [3] Archived October 4, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Transport and society – 2011 annual summit. International Transport Forum (OECD). ISBN 978-92-821-0368-5. 
  17. ^ "Enrique Peñalosa: "América Latina debe mirar más a Amsterdam que a Miami"". Semana.com. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2015-07-28. 
  18. ^ Montgomery, Charles (2013). Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 4. ISBN 9780374168230. 

External links[edit]