Civic Imagination Series: Antanas Mockus

Antanas Mockus, philosopher and former rector of the National University of Colombia


Date: 2015-05-27
Time: 5pm - 6:30pm
Location: Room 402, SME Building, UC San Diego

Guest Speaker: Antanas Mockus, Corpovisionarios (Colombia)
with Fonna Forman, Gerry Mackie and Teddy Cruz

Host: Center for Urban Ecologies and Blum Cross-Border


Bogotá in the 90's was a city in crisis. Drug violence, urban crime, and complete civic break-down made it 'one of the most dangerous cities on the planet.' When Antanas Mockus took office as mayor (1995-1997, 2001-2003) he declared that transforming the city must begin with re-imaging municipal bureaucracy and transforming social behavior. His idiosyncratic methods, using art and culture as performative instruments of civic engagement, provoked dramatic change in a time of urban crisis. During his years of governance, Bogotá’s water usage decreased by 40%, homicide decreased by 70%, traffic fatalities by 50%, water and sewer services were extended to nearly all households, and tax collections nearly doubled.

A set of public programs that address pressing bio-regional and global socio- economic, urban and environmental issues. These meetings focus on a critical analysis of local conflicts in order to re-evaluate the meaning of shifting global dynamics, across geo-political boundaries, natural resources, cultural demographics, urbanization and social justice. In previous years, the series has included Eyal Weizman, Andrew Ross, Richard Sennett, Hou Hanru, MAP Office and many others.

The 2014-15 speakers represent some of the most important and vibrant voices today in the fields of design, architecture, urbanism and social / political theory, including writer and curator Justin McGuirk (October 21, 2014); political theorist Benjamin Barber (February 5); New York Times architectural critic, Michael Kimmelman (March 6); French architect Anne Lacaton (April 7); Dutch artist-activist Jeanne Van Heeswijk (postponed, TBA); former US Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich (April 13); former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, Antanas Mockus (May 27); and political theorist James Tully (October 29).

The Civic Imagination Series is co-curated by Fonna Forman, co-director of the Center on Global Justice, and Teddy Cruz, co-director of the Center for Urban Ecologies in the Visual Arts Department.


Antanas Mockus now leads the Bogotá-based think tank Corpovisionarios, who is presently collaborating with UCSD on a Ford Foundation-funded Bi-national Citizenship Culture Survey to measure citizenship culture in the San Diego-Tijuana border region. Antanas Mockus is a philosopher, former Rector of The National University of Colombia, and was a presidential candidate in the last national elections in Colombia.