BOGOTA — Authorities in Bogota are banning road and building construction across 14 square kilometers (5.4 square miles) in the Colombian capital, in a bid to create the largest urban nature reserve in Latin America.
New restrictions will turn a sector of the existing Thomas van der Hammen Reserve into a "biodiversity corridor" spanning Guaymaral, Corpas and Suba, three adjacent districts of northern Bogota, a city increasingly marked by high-rise construction and extreme air pollution.
The reserve will protect wetlands and wildlife exclusive to the area, not to mention subterranean waters. The Northern Bogota Regional Forest Reserve plan "envisages ... restrictions on owners in the Reserve, though we also intend to start buying plots, which will allow us to start building and designing a park," Bogota planning chief Gerardo Ardila says.
He says the city will be able to create "an environmental park of great value and one of the biggest parks in Latin America." The municipality has already begun buying nine plots of land here, where it plans to plant two million plants, 300,000 of which are coming from the Bogota Botanical Garden.