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Be Part of the Process! Livable Cities Presents...

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"We cannot talk about urban transport until we know what kind of city we want, and to talk about the kind of city we want, we have to know how we want to live."

Honestly, the event tonight is worth 10 categories. Crime, transportation, traffic, your commute, green printing, sustainability...Los Angeles, listen up. We don't have to live in a city plagued by traffic woes! Imagine real solutions and ideas and a room full of people committed to taking ACTION and actually doing something about this. Think we're out of our minds?

Tonight in the MTA Boardroom downtown, Livable Places is sponsoring the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia -- Enrique Peñalosa (who we've been told looks like a Colombian George Clooney) -- to speak about lessons he learned while changing the face of one of South America's busiest cities.

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Peñalosa built infrastructure and created "Car-Free Day" in 2000 where buses ran in all lanes during rush hour and cars were prohibited, to encourage public transportation. He planted over 100,000 trees. A sustainable development guru, he helped change the city's attitude of negativity and hopelessness to one of pride and hope. He enacted real change in marginal neighborhoods and his city had 6.5 million people. (Imagine how inspired this city could feel with someone taking the bull by the horns, so to speak.)

The event is listed as sold out, if you happen to be downtown, pop by and see if you can buy a ticket last minute. Otherwise look for more words of wisdom and lessons WE'VE learned here in the coming days.

Additional accomplishments by Peñalosa:

* Created a successful Urban Land Reform institution.

* Created a new bus-based transit system: TransMilenio.

* Spearheaded large improvements to the city center, including the rejuvenation of plazas, creation of a large park in an area previously overrun by crime and drugs, and transformation of one of the main deteriorating downtown avenues into a dynamic pedestrian pubic space.

* Built more than a hundred nurseries for children under 5 and assured resources for their operation.

* Increased children enrollment in public schools by more than 200,000, a 34% increase in four years; did major improvements to more than 150 school buildings and built 50 new schools.

* Put in place a network of 14,000 computers in all public schools connected to both the Internet and a network of 3 large new libraries and several smaller ones that were built.

* Planted more than 100,000 trees.

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* Built or reconstructed hundreds of kilometers of sidewalks; more than 300 kilometers of bicycle paths, pedestrian streets, and greenways; and more than 1,200 parks.

* Instituted the city's first "Car-Free Day" in 2000, for which he received the Stockholm Challenge Award. Through a referendum, people adopted a yearly car free day and decided that from the year 2015 onwards, there would be no cars during rush hours, from 6 AM to 9 AM and from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM.