The Mountain trail for land preservation and urban demarcation is a comprehensive landscape management strategy for the Eastern Hills area of Bogotá. The project aims to connect the city’s eight million inhabitants to their natural environment and provide a boundary for future urban growth.
The project was approved by government in November 2007 and improves social mix and cohesion while establishing a boundary between built space and forest reserve.
In many landscape architecture projects, however, the design does not progress beyond paper, and is rarely implemented – causing considerable frustration for designers and eroding their effectiveness in following projects through to completion. “It is of critical importance in terms of project management that the designer ensures not only the viability of the concept, but also engages with stakeholders to build political momentum in support of the project’s implementation”, Diana Wiesner says.
After six years of trying to make the much-applauded project one of the political priorities of the local authorities to no avail, Diana Wiesner decided to use the prize money from the Holcim Awards competition to create Fundación Cerros de Bogotá (Hills Foundation of Bogotá) together with a group of professionals willing to support implementation of the project.
The project has three main elements:
The perpetual work of the foundation and the engagement of the community was a success: it was not only much recognized by media, but also by the government. In June 2013, a land protection pact was approved by the mayor, and ratified by government in November 2013. The legislation acknowledges stakeholder rights and protects an area of 415 hectares of the green belt for ecological preservation and recreation. The project focuses upon building social interaction and engagement which will then benefit from the construction of new infrastructure.
Sowing the seeds of social change
Establishing mechanisms for social change was considered a precondition to the successful implementation of the project. This long-term project places importance on consolidating support for the project in the hearts and minds of stakeholders first. Six years into the project, residents, universities, schools and private landholders in the area have been established and will ensure the success of the physical infrastructure:
A mountain trail for land preservation and urban demarcation in Bogotá, Colombia was one of six Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prizes for Latin America.Media release – Holcim Awards honor sustainable construction in Latin America » más información (Spanish) » leia mais (Portuguese) »
The mountain trail will deﬁne the future border line between the city and the mountainous forest reserve surrounding Bogotá over a distance of 52km. The core strategy is to clearly mark and preserve the border line between the built space and the natural areas serving as an important recreational resort.
Furthermore the new path for pedestrians, joggers and bicycles will connect high class condominiums, middle class homes, working class neighbourhoods, and squatter settlements – and will thus contribute to an improved social mix and cohesion. The jury has commended this project because the Bogotá mountain trail is not simply an infrastructure project, but it is a clear sign of respect between humanity and nature. In this sense it will become a strong instrument to channel the further development of Bogotá and to improve its ecological quality. It is a simple and efﬁcient solution to a common problem in rapidly growing cities.See more
The city is surrounded by an impressive mountain range. The project, Mountain trail for land preservation and urban demarcation, connects eight million inhabitants to their natural environment. The 52 kilometer long path links neighborhoods to each other, improving social mix and cohesion, while marking the border between built space and forest reserve.Download project entry poster (PDF, 4.01 MB) »
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