combo2600Bogota -capital of Colombia- is a city with over 7.5 million inhabitants in which the sense of belonging is getting lost. Unfortunately, the city passed from winning the Golden Lion Cities Award during the 2006 Venice Biennial of Architecture, to an ousted and arrested Mayor in 2010.

The past governments did not pay much attention (nor interest) to the pedestrian infrastructure and it became a city difficult to walk in which the car has become the leader on mobility. Besides, the once great TransMilenio reached its peak and hasn't got the ability to reinvent itself. For these and other reasons (mainly corruption) people lost faith.

After one year and a half of gathering every Tuesdays in a living room inviting urban experts (public, private sector and academy) to discuss about Bogota, the collective Combo 2600 decided to put hands-on-action. By different manners, we try to make citizens question themselves about what they are doing to make sure Bogota is a better place to live.

In February, we have launched our webpage (in Spanish only) www.combo2600.com in which we publish one position paper per week. But it wasn't until end of May, when we decided to intervene on a pedestrian crosswalk as a manifestation of our impotence to only wait for the local government to do something. We sent electronic invitations for people to join us and more than 30 people arrived in a sunny Saturday morning (we choose daylight -despite the fact that it was easier during night time- because we felt it was more transparent that way).

The result? The first colored crosswalk in Bogota. (http://combo2600.com/2012/05/ and http://bit.ly/M9vKwu)

Our message is loud and clear: if we keep waiting for the big changes to arrive and if we don't care about the details (our daily lives), we will keep on living in a sad, dusty and boring city. But if we, only with the power of being citizens, start doing small things like (for instance) cleaning our piece of street, being nice with the bus driver, walking or biking more, we will have a friendly and nicer city in which, we think, everyone will be more pleased.

Martin Rivera Alzate
@riveraalzate
Active member of Combo 2600
martinriveraalzate@gmail.com

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