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Voice for Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-07-11 09:56 PM
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Academic turns city into a social experiment
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2004/03.11/01-mocku...

Academic turns city into a social experiment:
Mayor Mockus of Bogot and his spectacularly applied theory

Antanas Mockus had just resigned from the top job of Colombian National University. A mathematician and philosopher, Mockus looked around for another big challenge and found it: to be in charge of, as he describes it, "a 6.5 million person classroom."

Mockus, who had no political experience, ran for mayor of Bogot; he was successful mainly because people in Colombia's capital city saw him as an honest guy. With an educator's inventiveness, Mockus turned Bogot into a social experiment just as the city was choked with violence, lawless traffic, corruption, and gangs of street children who mugged and stole. It was a city perceived by some to be on the verge of chaos.

People were desperate for a change, for a moral leader of some sort. The eccentric Mockus, who communicates through symbols, humor, and metaphors, filled the role. When many hated the disordered and disorderly city of Bogot, he wore a Superman costume and acted as a superhero called "Supercitizen." People laughed at Mockus' antics, but the laughter began to break the ice of their extreme skepticism.



'Knowledge,' said Mockus, 'empowers people. If people know the rules, and are sensitized by art, humor, and creativity, they are much more likely to accept change.' (Photo by Gerardo Chaves/El Tiempo)



Another Mockus inspiration was to ask people to call his office if they found a kind and honest taxi driver; 150 people called and the mayor organized a meeting with all those good taxi drivers, who advised him about how to improve the behavior of mean taxi drivers. The good taxi drivers were named "Knights of the Zebra," a club supported by the mayor's office.
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-07-11 10:04 PM
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1. Apparently that's from 2004
It'd be interesting to see a follow up piece 7 years on.
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Voice for Peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-07-11 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. oops I didn't notice the date.. still very inspiring
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salvorhardin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-08-11 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. He was at Harvard when that article was written
He'd already resigned as mayor of Bogota by then. Even it was an old article, it was new to me. Thanks for pointing it out. Definitely an interesting thinker.

There's a pretty good article about him on Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antanas_Mockus

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ananda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-07-11 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wow!
What a fantastic thinker!
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