Innovative solutions to urban and social problems sometimes take unexpected forms. It's always fun to learn about ideas that both challenge our perceptions of what solutions can entail and come from places outside familiar Western locations. The efforts of former Bogotá mayor Antanas Mockus to change the way his beleaguered city works were particularly interesting, as he adopted unusual methods such as mimes as traffic monitors (resulting in a significant decline in vehicle accidents) along with more traditional ideas such as car-free days. The Bogotá Experiment was a brief but popular post, giving readers a reminder that success can take unusual forms.
Mimes on streetcorners and occasional men-only curfews may not work in every city, but Mockus's success in Bogotá is a good example of the value of trying innovative approaches to solving seemingly intractible problems. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome. It's a good thing, then, to try something new, even if it looks a little crazy.