Bogotá: Cities’ System and Territorial Organization


City Profile:

Bogota is the capital of Colombia. It consists of 20 localities and is the political, economic, administrative, industrial, artistic, cultural, sports and tourism epicenter of the country. Bogotá has an area of 1,587 square kilometers. The city is   the seventh largest city by size of GDP in Latin America(about USD 159,850 million). As of 2015, it had a population of 7,878,783 million.



Carlos Córdoba is the Director of the Central Region of Colombia, which links Bogotá to the departments of Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Meta, and Tolima. Córdoba was previously the National Planning Contract Manager and Coordinator of Land Synergy within the National Department for Planning. He has also coordinated the program, Bogotá Cómo Vamos. Within the Government Secretariat of Bogotá, he was the Citizenship Participation Director. He is a public administrator, with specliazations in public economy and a Master’s Degree in philosophy.

Jorge Iván González is a Professor in the Faculty of Economics at the National University of Colombia. Previously, he was a researcher for the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular (CINEP), consultant to the United Nations Study on Human Development and Social Mission, and Director of the Centro de Investigaciones de Desarrollo. He has also held positions as the Director of Finance, Director of the Master in Economics, Vice-Dean, and Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the National University of Colombia. His teaching focuses on macroeconomics, tax theory, state theory and fiscal policy, and public finance spending. With a long and distinguished career as a researcher and consultant on social policy and public finance, he is currently working on aspects related to different dimensions of urban spatial segregation and urban social indicators.


In Colombia, there is a conflict between two forms of territorial planning: one that focuses on the “cities’ system” and another one that seeks to strengthen the country’s departments. This chapter argues that Bogotá’s Special Planning Administrative Region (SPAR) brings the benefits of the system of cities into a regional context, which presents a way to reconcile the two territorial planning approaches.

The living conditions in Colombian agglomerations or metropolitan areas are better than in uninodal cities, but the potentiality of convergence has not been used so far. Public policy should enhance the intrinsic benefits of agglomerations. SPAR, in Bogotá, is an adequate alternative that can contribute to addressing the fight against inequality, the consolidation of the internal market, the improvement of productivity, and environmental sustainability.