, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My current pre-dissertation research focuses on Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa’s current Development Plan. Here is a link to the plan itself:


Enrique Peñalosa served as mayor of Bogotá from 1998 to 2001, and was reelected in 2015 to serve the 2016 – 2019 term. His first tenure was characterized by an emphasis on public works projects which are often seen as building upon and expanding the political project of his predecesor, Antanas Mockus. Generally, Mockus and Peñalosa are viewed as independent politicians (Mockus, for example, was a university administrator before becoming mayor) not beholden to the status quo. In terms of their policies, Mockus’s political project has been seen as focusing on building up civic values through the use of didactic methods, while Peñalosa’s has been understood as expanding public space through the construction of schools, libraries, new forms of public transportation, etc. The emphasis given by these politicians (and by other Latin America mayors, such as Sergio Fajardo in Medellín) to urban planning as a tool of governance, has made them worldwide referents for urban development.

The current Development Plan is an ambitious effort to reorganize Bogotá institutionally and territorially, and as such will have long term consequences for the development of the city. The plan, as laid in the above linked document, details a complex program for directing the development of the city in accord with an envisioned urban form and functionality. This vision of the city in turn reflects an explicit notion of urban space as it is constituted and is constitutive of the economic and civic practices of individuals, and as such reflects and seeks to produce a specific form of community.

In further posts I will seek to systematically lay out and analyze some of the main elements of this development plan: its concrete proposals at the level of institutional reform, territorial development, and public policy, as these relate to stated aims and tactics of producing a given citizen and political community.

My analysis will center on the Development Plan’s given representation of space, and how this representation in turn relates to existing representational spaces and spatial practices. In short, I will be analyzing Peñalosa’s Development Plan and public policies from the perspective of an analysis of the production of space, as characterized by a given arrangement of the forces of production and of the social relations of production, not only in the context of Colombian society but in the context of globalized capitalism. Apart from this overall intent of analysis, some of the questions which I will attempt to answer are:

From the perspective of the production of space in the context of globalized capitalism,

What sort of vision of the citizen does Peñalosa’s development plan envision?

What sort of normative framework, and thus what sort of community?

How are the economic and political realms partitioned or unified within this community?

What role does labor play within this vision? What role does leisure and art play?

What function and partition is assigned to functional spaces (housing, commerce, industry, leisure, transit), and to the public and private realms?

What utopian vision of the city is at play here?

How does this vision relate to the development of capitalism?

How does it relate to the political project of neoliberalism?

What sort of contradictions are present? How might they point to ruptures  or new developments in society?