Sergio Montero: Urban Experiments at the Legal Frontier: Planning and the Politics of Participation in Bogotá, Colombia

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Sergio Montero is Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Development at the University of the Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. He is also director of LabNa, an urban narratives lab, and associate editor of the journal Regional Studies. Montero's research is focused on the politics and governance of urban and regional planning; the global circulation of urban and regional policy models and "best practices"; as well as institutional and territorial approaches to local economic development policy, with an emphasis on Latin American cities and peripheral regions. He has coedited four books on local and regional economic development as well as on the global circulation, mobility, and diffusion of urban policy knowledge. During the first semester of 2022, Montero is a visiting professor at the University of Toronto School of Cities. He has a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley.


In the past decade, there has been a rise in legal action around urban policy and planning in Bogotá, Colombia. Lawyers and the courts are being increasingly called upon to get involved in urban planning issues by a plethora of actors, from social movements and progressive urban think tanks to neighborhood groups and elites. This rise in legal action in and against cities has resulted in legal experts and judges often dictating how social housing, transport corridors, public space, or waste management schemes ought to be implemented by municipal administrations. In this context, mayors and planners complain that the increasing involvement of judges and lawyers in urban planning drains local resources and undermines the power of mayors to set and implement the political agenda they were democratically elected to execute. In this talk, Sergio Montero will discuss his current research and new book project on how the increasing mobilization of legal expertise in Bogotá, particularly around transport infrastructure and urban redevelopment, is reconfiguring urban politics and participatory planning in the city.

Cosponsored by the Carl Becker House (WCHS)

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