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Nature in urban spaces - What the wetlands of Bogota have achieved?

In 2021, Bogota’s population is estimated at just over 11 million people. This Colombian city is growing and expanding rapidly. However, they have been able to turn around a disaster where 90% of their wetlands were destroyed by the city’s growth and now produce a thriving ecosystem in the heart of the city. Nature in urban spaces has been found to have incredible impact not only on restoring ecosystems but also for the people living within the urban area. This article will explore how Bogota, Colombia has transformed their city with their wetland initiative.

An imminent disaster

The 1990s saw a boom in development for the city of Bogota. The population was expanding at an accelerated rate and the city began making plans for development in order to house all of the people and provide them with services. In doing this, designated wetland spaces were being taken over and destroyed. The community rallied to not have construction debris and waste poured into the wetland and in the year 2000, a court ruled to not have any more destruction be brought upon the wetland. The work then was set out to restore these wetlands as they once were.

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Community transformation

Not only did the ruling on the protection of the Bogota wetlands begin to transform the physical environment, but it also brought the communities in Bogota to fight for a better city. Bogota is the only city in Latin America to have ecosystems like this. The wetlands in Bogota are also regarded with the highest environmental certification possible. There is recognition in the community that these wetlands are a special, protected place and provide a lot of benefits for the city, including:

  • Regulating Water Cycles
  • Improving Air Quality
  • Diverse wildlife
  • Calm, beautiful spaces for people to enjoy

These ecosystems are not just necessary for environmental conservation but also provide great health and wellness benefits for people as well. Experiences with nature can be restorative and have extremely positive impacts on people’s mental well-being. It offers a chance to pause and relax and not be surrounded by the noise pollution that a city has to offer.

A beautiful new home

Fifteen of the wetlands found within Bogota are classified as District Ecological Parks which is a distinction that offers some protection to the wetlands. Since these wetlands have been restored, the wildlife that has been found here has been incredible. Over 200 species of birds can be found within the wetlands.

The world should take notice of the success story of Bogota, Colombia. From an area destined to be transformed into a polluted wasteland, the community turned the area around and have now been given a beautiful, ecologically diverse wetland that will benefit them for many years to come. It is a testament that nature in urban areas can truly transform a community and bring life into an area. Bogota, Colombia can be considered one of the greatest successes in ecological restoration in an urban area.

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