Nudging in Bogotà

The Art of Changing a City

Between 1995 and 2003, I served two terms as mayor of Bogotá. Like most cities in the world, Colombia’s capital had a great many problems that needed fixing and few people believed they could be fixed. As a professor of philosophy, I had little patience with conventional wisdom. When I was threatened by the leftist guerrilla group known as FARC, as hundreds of Colombian mayors were, I decided to wear a bulletproof vest. But mine had a hole cut in the shape of a heart over my chest. I wore that symbol of confidence, or defiance, for nine months. Here’s what I learned: People respond to humor and playfulness from politicians. It’s the most powerful tool for change we have. Bogotá’s traffic was chaotic and dangerous when I came to office. We decided the city needed a radical new approach to traffic safety. ….[READ]

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