Antanus Mockus, mayor of Bogota until 2003, spoke at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government on Monday about his initiatives to improve the Colombian capital.
He spoke at the world-leading university about the importance of capturing people’s imagination and appealing to their sentiments, rather than simply imposing law and order through force. The lecture’s title was “Dialogue in Cultural Diplomacy and Urban Transformation.”
“There are not only legal motivations for being a member of society – people are also moved because of moral and social sentiment,” a Boston student newpaper quotes Mockus as saying in his speech. “These three elements of motivation all play into the decisions people make, to obey the laws of their communities, respect their neighbors and contribute to society.”
The reforming mayor was known for his innovative projects, such as shaming the city’s inhabitants into following the traffic laws by hiring mimes to mock those who broke the rules. He drew attention to dangerous spots by painting stars on spots where people had been run over and killed.
He held office from 1995-1996, and then again from 2001-2003. Over the period 1993 to 2003 Bogota’s murder rate fell from 80 to per 100,000 inhabitants to 22. Deaths from traffic accidents also halved during Mockus’ time in office.
The former mayor is expected to run in May’s presidential election.