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         29 January 2004

Cities in developing countries face vastly different problems and opportunities than those in developed countries. Unless city leaders recognize this, and follow an appropriate urban development model, cities in developing countries are at risk of being simply second-class imitations of the more prosperous metropolises in developed countries.

On Monday, 9 February 2004, Dr. Enrique Peñalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, will address this topic in a speech at UN House in Tokyo. The theme of Dr. Peñalosa's lecture, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Rose Conference Hall, will be "Towards More Egalitarian and Sustainable Cities in Developing Countries." The lecture is being organized by United Nations University (UNU) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

As Mayor of Bogotá from 1998 to 2001, Dr. Peñalosa demonstrated clearly how a "disadvantage" can be turned into an "advantage." In Colombia, where low income levels have meant low motorization and few highways, much of the land surrounding urban Bogotá has remained free of suburban development. Mayor Peñalosa seized this opportunity to preserve large areas of land for use by the city's 6.5 million residents, ordering the establishment of more than 1,000 parks. Such public spaces as parks, he has said, are "evidence of a true democracy at work" since they are one of the few environments where all citizens, regardless of income, can meet as equals. Among his other accomplishments as mayor were successful initiatives relating to issues of transportation, education, housing for the poor and pollution abatement. Dr. Peņalosa is currently a visiting scholar at New York University, and is researching and writing a book on a new urban-development model for the Third World.

Dr. Peñalosa's lecture will be in English. His lecture will be preceded by introductory remarks from UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel and IDB Chief Representative Toshio Kobayashi, and followed by a brief question and answer session. Media representatives are cordially invited to attend.

Simultaneous Japanese-English interpretation will be provided and the lecture is open to the public, but advance registration (by 5 February) is required. A registration form is available online at For more information, contact Ms. Soisik Habert at UNU (Tel: 03-5467-1220; Fax: 03-3499-2828; E-mail: Soisik Habert).

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