In May 2013, the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, announced his intention
to revise the city’s master plan. The Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial, or
pot, is the set of rules and regulations that determines much of what can
and cannot be done within municipal bound aries.1 Petro’s announcement
confirmed his status in Colombian politics as a controversial and polarizing
figure, much hated by the conservative po litical establishment. The pot had
under gone a number of minor revisions since it was established in 2000, but
nothing on the scale of the major overhaul Petro intended. The city council
initially refused to discuss his proposal, leading Petro to pass it by decree—
illegally, according to his opponents. While vari ous aspects of the revision
were met with disapproval, one dimension proved especially incendiary: Petro’s
desire to reor ga nize the master plan around climate change. In the words of
a critic, though his supporters would not disagree, Petro’s goal was to make
this “the core princi ple guiding the planning of the city.”2
Before Petro became mayor in 2012, he was known as a former member of
the m-19 leftist guerrillas who had spent two years in prison before contribut-
ing to the militant group’s demobilization. Once elected to the House of Rep-
resentatives and eventually the Senate, Petro became one of the key leaders of
the opposition to the Uribe administration. He made a name for himself as a
fiery critic of corruption, per sistently condemning the intimate relationship
between elected politicians, drug traffickers, paramilitary forces, and other
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