Urban and Regional development

What is land zoning?

It is the set of actions taken by municipalities or districts to:

Guide the development of the territory under its jurisdiction and to regulate the use, transformation and occupation of space. All of this in accordance with the development plans approved by the municipality or district and in harmony with the environment and historical and cultural traditions of its inhabitants. The land zoning is regulated through the Land Zoning Plans.

Why is land zoning important for the competitiveness of Bogotá?

  • Because it defines objectives and strategies for the Capital District's zoning in a regional, long-term perspective.
  • Because it defines land zoning strategies for the Capital District in the socio-economic context.
  • Because it defines major networks of infrastructure and urban facilities, key factors for competitiveness.
  • Because it orients public investment and defines comprehensive projects around the economic and social model, in harmony with the environment and cultural heritage.
  • Because it constitutes short, medium and long term public policies to the extent that they transcend more than three administrative periods.
  • Because it determines minimum standards, forms and uses of the land, to improve quality of life and optimize urban services.

Are municipalities and districts required to perform the zoning for its territory?

Yes. With the approval of Law 388 of 1997 (Law on Territorial Development), all municipalities and districts of the country were obligated to zone their territory by creating and approving Territorial Zoning Plans (POT). 

Who creates and approves the POTs?

The mayors of the municipalities and districts are tasked with creating the POTs, and municipal or district councils approve them. Environmental issues must be approved by Regional Autonomous Corporations. The community should participate in the process of creating and adopting, hence National Law Law 388 of 1997 (Law on Territorial Development) provides specific spaces and times for public-private engagement and dialogue.

What is the Territorial Zoning Plan (POT)?

It is the road map for municipalities and districts to plan their development so they can prepare for the challenges of growth, improving the quality of life of the people and cities' competitiveness. The Bogotá POT can be found on the website of the District Planning Secretariat: www.sdp.gov.co

What are the Zone Plans?

In Bogotá there are special zones determined by size, condition or location and they are strategic for urban and regional performance. Certain particular zoning conditions must be determined for these areas regarding the city's major systems as well as certain criteria for zoning the use of land and the ways it may be occupied and harnessed. The POT defined 5 zones in the city that would need an intermediate planning instrument called Zone Plans, these areas are: Usme, the Zone for the expansion of the North, Center, El Dorado Airport and Puente Aranda.  

What are the Zone Planning Units (UPZ)?

UPZs are planning instruments that establish urban regulations for a set of neighborhoods that have common characteristics in its urban development, as well as their uses and predominant activities. Their objective is to specify and complement the city's urban standard from a more local scale and with citizen engagement. If you wish to learn more about UPZ, visit: www.sdp.gov.co

What are Partial Plans?

They are planning and land management instruments through which urban regulations are established for the areas of the city, or in areas of urban expansion greater than 10 hectares which have not been urbanized, i.e. that do not have roads or public utilities networks. This instrument should ensure the distribution of loads and benefits that are unique to the urbanization process, so that all participants of in partial plan gain the benefits of urban development equally.

What are the Rezoning Plans?

They are rules governing the special conditions for placing institutional projects, i.e. centers for education, health, culture and recreation, among others, and land acquisition by the Capital District for public use. In addition to the specific urban regulations for these projects, rezoning plans should include the management and financing tools needed to ensure its execution.

What are the Directors' Plans for Parks?

They are planning instruments defined in the POT that apply to regional, metropolitan, urban or area parks to ensure that their operation and POT service comply with National Law Law 388 of 1997 (Law for Territorial Development) and thanks to the POT, many cities including Bogotá, have in recent years improved their quality of life and productivity. POTs are the first long-term territorial planning policy in the history of Colombia which, in addition to being a territorial expression of the socio-economic, territorial development plans, they connect the districts' and municipalities' urban zones with rural zones.

What is the current status of the POT of Bogotá?

The Capital District adopted its first POT, through District Decree 619 of 2000 and was revised for the first time through District Decree 469 of 2003. Subsequently, the Mayor adopted District Decree 190 of 2004 and therein the regulations contained in the two previous decrees were compiled. District Decree 190 of 2004 is the POT which currently governs Bogotá, together with the decrees that have been produced in developing its regulation. If you wish to learn about these decrees and other urban development regulations of Bogotá, you can visit the District Planning Secretariat website: www.sdp.gov.co

How is the Bogotá Territorial Zoning Plan (POT) regulated?

The POT defined three types of instruments for its regulation: planning, financing and management. As its name implies, the first are responsible for defining the policies and standards around territorial planning; the financing and management instruments help in economical costing and make urban development possible. All of them should be made available to the inhabitants and the territory under constitutional principles of equality, social function, and general interest.

In addition to the Territorial Zoning Plan, what other urban regulations apply to Bogotá?

The POT must be regulated through the Master Plans, Zone Plans and other planning instruments, but especially the Zone Planning Units (UPZ) that complement and specify the urban regulation of the Zoning Plan. However, due to the heterogeneity of the city, not everything should be regulated through UPZ; close to 20% of urban land in Bogotá must be regulated through Partial Plans or otherwise under the provisions of Decree 327 of 2004.

What are Master Plans?

They are instruments that are used for planning systems that determine a city's operation. That is, aspects as mobility, transportation, public space, public utilities, and others.

Master Plans help determine the growth path and the way in which land use and city densities are used because its purpose is to provide support to all urban activities such as trade, industry, services, residential areas, and others. This is why they are also an essential tool to distribute the public budget and guide the investment of the private sector for sustainable urban development.

What are the Deployment Plans?

They are planning instruments used for the approval and regulation of large commercial buildings or collective facilities (universities, clinics, and others). To reduce the possible negative impacts in the areas of influence where they will be placed.

What are Regularization Plans and Public Use Management Plans?

They are planning instruments to determine the use of collective facilities existing as of year 2000 that did not have a construction license or whose license only covered part of their buildings. Said plan must contain the actions needed to mitigate negative urban impacts, as well as roads and traffic solutions, the generation of public space, parking requirements and solutions needed for their proper operation.

What are Ground Management Instruments?

The very nature of urbanism generates inequalities because one regulation or one project of the POT can benefit some more than others, or drastically affect a few citizens to achieve a collective benefit for a wider community. These situations must be resolved by a constitutional principle (equality), and to that end, the POT and the Law for Territorial Zoning (Law 388 of 1997) have illustrated some useful ways for the District to design and regulate some instruments that ensure the load distribution and benefits so that all participants of the urban project win equally.

While the city does not develop and deploy management instruments and procedures, with strong, adequate and suitable institutions to comply with the principle of equality, developing concerted projects will continue to be very complicated under public-private cooperation structures.

What are Financing Instruments?

Urban zoning requires high public and private investments; to this end, Law 388 of 1997 and the POT have made instruments available that serve to finance the urbanism projects and works needed to meet the objectives of the POT. The main financing instruments are: capital gains, hedge funds, construction and development fees, and the notes and bonds of urban reform, among others.