Emerging as South America’s newest metropolis, Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and the country’s largest city. With more than eight million inhabitants, it is bigger than Hong Kong and Washington, D.C. The city is a melting pot of diversity and multiculturalism, its modern and colonial architecture colored by the rich red of prolific brick buildings and offset by the refreshing green of numerous parks and gardens.

With a commercial heart that beats strongly, Bogotá is undergoing a transformation. In short, it is very much open for business. The city’s strategic location and proximity to New York, Mexico City and Sao Paulo makes it the logical gateway for the Latin American market. While Bogotá is connected through the Eldorado Airport, Pan-American Highway and a vast network of roads, traffic congestion can bring the city to a standstill.

Economically, Bogotá has performed well in the past decade, sustaining steady growth. This performance has been driven mostly by exports, including petroleum and manufacturing, a burgeoning services sector and a vastly improved security climate. These factors have been instrumental in instilling confidence in the economy and attracting foreign investment.

Today, Bogotá is considered a creative hub with a thriving fashion industry and a record of producing digital content for the Spanish speaking market. It has been underpinned by a focus on connectivity. Not surprisingly, Colombia’s information technology industry is the fastest growing in the world and the country boasts the longest fiber optic network in South America.

The city’s rapid urbanization has placed a strain on infrastructure and has been countered by 20 years of substantial efforts to remedy it. The introduction of a comprehensive mobility policy revitalized thousands of square meters of public spaces, aided by the implementation of TransMilenio — an aboveground mass transportation system operated by high-capacity buses along dedicated lanes — and a comprehensive network of segregated bicycle tracks. On car-free Sundays, 100 kilometers of city streets become the domain of cyclists and pedestrians for seven hours. These initiatives have helped change the city’s image on the global stage while contributing to sustainability.

Despite its growing reputation as a smart and progressive city, Bogotá still faces many economic and social challenges. A lack of affordable housing has resulted in unplanned settlements in hazardous areas that are prone to landslides and floods.

Billions of dollars are being poured into the city, from skyscrapers and transit systems to cultural and business centers. The question is, will this be enough to help address the bottlenecks that could hinder Bogotá’s mobility, livability, social inclusiveness and competitiveness on the world stage?

PLACES

Score: 3.9/10
HOUSING

HOUSING

Score: 2.8/10

The expansion of Bogotá has followed a rapid path, swallowing up zones of high ecological value and marginalizing many sectors of the population. The result is a city that is extremely difficult to administer and tough on some of the inhabitants.

Rural-urban migration and associated rapid population growth, combined with the attractive offer of public services with a large coverage, resulted in vast sectors being occupied for housing, both with support from the state and illegally.

Before 2000, the Administrative Department of District Planning legalized 1,238 neighbourhoods, developed on 6,410 hectares, of which 457 hectares were available for green and communal areas. On the land dedicated to housing, 366,098 lots were located, from which a housing occupation of 1,369,278 people is estimated.

The residential properties to which public services are provided are classified in six socio-economic strata from the lowest (1) to the highest (6). Only 4.4 per cent of the population are in the top two brackets.

PUBLIC REALM

PUBLIC REALM

Score: 3.7/10

The City of Bogotá is committed to increasing its urban renewal efforts to improve the social wellbeing of residents.

A Responsible Urban Renewal Plan, seeks to improve housing opportunities, increase regional connectivity, enhance public realm safety and sustain green neighbourhoods. The plan is putting the wellbeing of people at its core, taking a completely different approach to previously unsuccessful methods relying purely on physical interventions to address crime and violence issues.

At the center of the people-first plan is a series of social programs, community spaces and economic development programs that create a neighbourhood of empowered people. These programs are supported by a framework which guides future redevelopment in the district. This is financially supported by public-private partnerships leveraging market-rate developments to fund housing and social programs.

There is still work to be done in terms of closing the gap on provision of public space. At present, each permanent resident gets 3.93 square meters, compared with 15 square meters defined in the regulations.

URBAN GREEN SPACE

URBAN GREEN SPACE

Score: 5.3/10

Today, the capital has 5,206 parks and 1,485 green areas that total more than 8,800 hectares. The parks fall into the following categories:

  • Regional: natural spaces of great dimension and environmental value, of which there is only one, Florida, and most of it is outside the perimeter of the city
  • Metropolitan: areas of more than 10 hectares, dedicated to active or passive recreation and to the perpetuation of landscape values; Bogotá has 18
  • Zonal: areas of one to ten hectares that meet the active recreation needs of a group of neighbourhoods and accommodate sports centers, swimming pools, courts and skating rinks; there are 78
  • neighbourhood scale: for the recreation, meeting and the integration of the community; there are 3,366
  • Pocket: areas of less than 1,000 square meters, intended for children and seniors; there are 1,730.
SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE

SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Score: 4.0/10

The District Development Plan, Bogotá Best For All, was approved by the city council in 2016. It lays out its priorities as modernization of the physical and technological infrastructure in health, construction of new schools, better mobility for everyone and a unified system of surveillance and communications and attention to citizens.

Diverse methods of financing are being considered for the plan. The administration is betting on public-private partnerships, through which it expects to collect 14.15 per cent of the total funds required.

Bogotá has become a hub for international infrastructure companies. It is the city in Colombia that has the largest portfolio of mega-infrastructure projects, becoming an attractive destination for any foreign company in the sector.

CLIMATE CHANGE

CLIMATE CHANGE

Score: 3.7/10

The District Plan for Risk Management and Climate Change for Bogotá 2015-2050 organizes its activities and generates synergies with the other processes of environmental, territorial and development planning in the capital district. From here the components and programs of climate change and risk management are oriented for the next development plans.

It also includes the necessary mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the strategies and programs for risk reduction and adaptation to climate change that will be implemented.

Mobility

MOBILITY

Score: 3.6/10
INFRASTRUCTURE: PUBLIC TRANSIT

INFRASTRUCTURE: PUBLIC TRANSIT

Score: 3.5/10

The mayor is behind a program called Building the New Bogotá, which focuses on the Integrated Transport System (TransMilenio) trunks of Avenidas 68 and Ciudad de Cali, ALO and Calle 13, Avenida Boyacá; and the perimeter roads of Gilma Jiménez Park and the Sabana Pedestrian Network.

Fast access roads exist but are mostly congested and hampered by such constraints as having only one fast-pass toll point at the entrance of Bogotá located in Chía.

Although there is a Transmilenio, it was not built to accommodate the number of people who use it daily.

LOGISTICS & FREIGHT PRODUCTIVITY

LOGISTICS & FREIGHT PRODUCTIVITY

Score: 3.5/10

Colombia is considered an emerging economy with enormous potential for foreign investment.

The absence of adequate infrastructure is one of the major limitations for productivity and commerce in Colombia. This is mainly concentrated in transportation and infrastructure, which together are generating bottlenecks for logistics.

The government is working on the implementation of the National Logistics Policy & Transportation Master Plan 2010-2032 which includes priority infrastructure projects, financing and strategies for attracting private capital, quality of services and regulatory policies, institutional framework and conditions for spreading good logistics practices.

As Colombia’s major transport hub, Bogotá is working hard to reach its potential. As part of the master plan, the city has been granted a development extension which is not the largest, but it is the one that contains the highest concentration of consumer and industrial activity.

GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY

GLOBAL CONNECTIVITY

Score: 6.7/10

Bogotá’s El Dorado Airport, about 12 kilometers west of the international center of the city near the locality of Fontibon, is the main airport in Colombia.

It is the third most important airport in Latin America, strategically located to link with North America and the rest of the South American continent. Last year, it catered to almost 31 million passengers, 770,000 metric tons of cargo, and 304,330 aircraft movements.

In the big makeover that was completed last year, El Dorado was fitted with 50 elevators, 20 escalators and almost 24,000 square meters of retail space with more than 30 brand shops. The terminal now has six VIP rooms, can move more than 7,200 pieces of luggage an hour and has parking spaces for 1,669 vehicles. The transformation has also increased the number of aircraft docks to 39 contact and 13 remote from the previous 20 contact and 10 remote. The aim is for El Dorado to become one of the best airports in the world.

INFRASTRUCTURE: PEDESTRIANS & CYCLING

INFRASTRUCTURE: PEDESTRIANS & CYCLING

Score: 4.0/10

Bogotá’s urban infrastructure of bicycle-exclusive lanes stretches 440 kilometers. There are 30 routes, five of which are longer than 20 kilometers. The longest is the North-Quito-South corridor measuring 26.5 kilometers. Thses are all interconnected at some point, facilitating the flow of cyclists.

Bike paths and cyclists have been affected in recent years, like the rest of the city, by crime, especially in the sectors of Usaquen, Suba, Kennedy, Tunjuelito and Ciudad Bolivar; where cyclists run the risk of their bikes being stolen.

BUILT FORM: PARKING PROVISIONS

BUILT FORM: PARKING PROVISIONS

Score: 3.7/10

Although parking meters were invented more than 80 years ago, Bogotá has been slow to embrace them and consequently has missed a financial opportunity. Although only a small proportion of the population owns cars, parked cars dominate the streets, sidewalks and block bicycle lanes, despite signs for no parking.

Experts believe that stipulations on the minimum number of parking spaces buildings must have driven up real estate prices and promoted motorization. For example, BD Bacatá, the tallest building in the city (with 67 floors), has 433 private and 334 public parking spots.

The city is formulating plans for regulating on-street parking and is looking at eliminating parking minimums.

FUTURE MOBILITY: SERVICES

FUTURE MOBILITY: SERVICES

Score: 2.8/10

In Colombia, vehicles used for public transport are regulated.

If a person accesses this service, they do so at their own responsibility as there is no insurance protecting them.

The National Government has not implemented public policies for the use of shared cars.

FUTURE MOBILITY: TECHNOLOGY

FUTURE MOBILITY: TECHNOLOGY

Score: 1.0/10

Colombia has a vehicle fleet consisting of 6.8 million private vehicles and 5.5 million motorcycles, among which electric and hybrid vehicles represent only 0.11 per cent of the market. The lack of clean technologies in the transport sector is mainly due to the absence of a robust public policy. For example, it would be beneficial if the use of vehicles that are older than 20 years was discouraged.

A 29 June 2017 decree offered tariff and tax incentives for electric and hybrid vehicles entering the country and set a quota of 3,000 vehicles by 2019. A lot of work is required to build a clear regulatory framework that allows the mass take-up of these technologies.

Technology

TECHNOLOGY

Score: 3.8/10
CONNECTIVITY & INFRASTRUCTURE

CONNECTIVITY & INFRASTRUCTURE

Score: 4.0/10

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies, according to Law 1341 or the ICT Law, is the entity in charge of designing, adopting and promoting the policies, plans, programs and projects in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector.

Part of its function is to increase and facilitate every citizen’s access to ICT.

There is a ministry in charge of designing, formulating, adopting and promoting the policies, plans, programs and projects of the ICT sector in alignment with the Political Constitution and the law, in order to contribute to the economic, social and political development of the nation and raise the wellbeing of Colombians. Overall, the ministry aims to:

  • Promote the use and appropriation of ICT among citizens, companies, the government and other national entities to support social, economic and political development
  • Promote the development and strengthening of the ICT sector
  • Promote research and innovation, seeking its competitiveness and technological progress
  • Define the policy and exercise the management, planning and administration of the radio spectrum and of postal and related services, except for what the law expressly dictates.
FIXED INTERNET: SPEEDS & FEEDS

FIXED INTERNET: SPEEDS & FEEDS

Score: 4.0/10
Bogotá offers technological tools and strategic information to food producers, transporters, transformers, logistics operators, distributors, social support organizations and consumers, to facilitate opportunities for access to timely and efficient information for doing business in the global economy. MOBILE INTERNET: WI-FI, 5G, NARROWBAND IOT

MOBILE INTERNET: WI-FI, 5G, NARROWBAND IOT

Score: 2.0/10
Some of the metrics do not include a narrative as written information was not available from the respective agencies. OPEN DATA

OPEN DATA

Score: 4.0/10
Some of the metrics do not include a narrative as written information was not available from the respective agencies. INFORMATION & DATA SECURITY

INFORMATION & DATA SECURITY

Score: 4.0/10
Some of the metrics do not include a narrative as written information was not available from the respective agencies. PLANNING & POLICY

PLANNING & POLICY

Score: 5.0/10
Some of the metrics do not include a narrative as written information was not available from the respective agencies. Urban Systems

URBAN SYSTEMS

Score: 3.0/10
POWER GENERATION & DISTRIBUTION

POWER GENERATION & DISTRIBUTION

Score: 4.8/10

Colombia has a rich endowment of energy sources and the country is heavily reliant on installed hydropower, accounting for 65 per cent of annual consumption, which provides cost-effective electricity. It has strong potential for nonconventional sources of energy generation, particularly solar, wind and biomass. According to the UN Industrial Development Organization and the International Center on Small Hydro Power, in 2010, the country saw its highest growth for renewable energy generation, totaling 2,543 MW of added capacity. It is estimated that large-scale onshore wind and large-scale geothermal would be able to achieve the same cost per kilowatt as that of current hydroelectric generation.

Colombia’s electricity and energy sector is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME). The MME has adopted an Indicative Action Plan and established a target of achieving 3.5 per cent of on-grid and 20 per cent of off-grid generation from renewable sources by 2015. These targets are to be increased to 6.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively in 2020. However, there are no legislative targets associated with the accomplishment of these goals.

In terms of wind energy, the Department of La Guajira stands out for its high natural resources in this area (estimated at 21 GW of capacity). Winds in La Guajira have been classified as Class 7 (close to ten meters per second annual average), making it one of only two regions in Latin America with winds of this speed. The Jepirachi wind farm, the first operational wind farm in the country, is in this area. There is also potential for large-scale solar generation in the Orinoco and San Andrés areas in the northern part of the country.

In addition, biomass energy has a positive outlook due to the large quantities of agricultural and forestry waste produced in the country. Important sources of agricultural waste come from banana plantations, rice, coffee, and livestock. The most suitable places for generating this form of energy are the areas of Santander and Norte de Santander, Valle del Cauca, Llanos Orientales, and the Caribbean coast.

In Bogotá, two PP20 biomass gasifier-gensets were installed in the José Celestino Mutis Botanical Gardens. This is Colombia’s largest botanical garden and serves both as a recreation space and research center. The biomass gensets are part of a program to create a sophisticated demonstration site featuring multiple forms of renewable power generation integrated into a micro-grid, including solar arrays and energy storage. The garden, which is a municipally-owned park has an emphasis on Andean and Páramo ecosystems; features plants from every Colombian altitude, climate and region, and is renowned throughout Colombia. It was founded in 1955, in honor of botanist and astronomer José Celestino Mutis. It covers 19.5 acres and groups its collections of plants according to their original ecosystems.

Columbia also has small-scale hydropower. There is an estimated 25 GW of naturally occurring potential for electricity generation, mainly in the Andean region. Concerns about the environmental impact of hydropower, and the fact that large-scale hydroelectric plants are already located in the best places, are likely to put a halt on further developments in this sector.

WATER TREATMENT & DISTRIBUTION

WATER TREATMENT & DISTRIBUTION

Score: 1.9/10

A plan prepared by the District Secretariats of Environment and Habitat establishes six water strategies related to planning, control, monitoring, childrens' and youths’ rights to water, risk management and environmental education that will be developed in the next decade and seeks to conserve this resource. It also aims to guarantee the right of this resource to the citizens of the capital and meet the basic needs of food, health and sanitation. The plan also intends to provide the minimum to the most vulnerable population in the next 10 years.

For this period, the District Water Plan pledges to provide the first six cubic meters of water a month, free to each of the poorest subscribers of the aqueduct service.

The Aqueduct and Sewerage Company of Bogotá has more than 35,293 active accounts that fall into the poorest category, of which 13,527 are in Bogotá with the remainder in Soacha.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

WASTE MANAGEMENT

Score: 2.5/10

SDA Solid Waste oversees the provision of technical advice and evaluation of the issues related to the management of waste in the city. It promotes the implementation of the subprograms of the scenario and materials cycle, of the District Environmental Management Plan.

Guides for the management and integral management of waste include: cosmetics and toilet, tanneries, pharmaceutical, printing and lithography, laundries, timber, metalworking, paintings, chemical substances and substances, textile and dry cleaning, vehicle washing, dangerous residues and conventional waste.

A study of alternatives to provide adequate management for the use of packaging and containers and to stimulate the use of their waste in Bogotá, D.C. includes:

  • Waste card
  • The green book of the office
  • Guide for the handling of used tires
  • Subsystem of information on the use of renewable natural resources – SIUR
  • Waste from the health and related sector
  • Special waste.
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