Skip to content
CityLab
Economy

Bogotá's Bronx Is Barren, But Not for Long

Once home to crocodile pits where drug dealers disposed of victims, the Bronx in Bogotá awaits an ambitious revitalization and its few remaining residents face an uncertain future.
A room in an abandoned building of the Bronx, Bogotá's infamous neighborhood, awaits a makeover.
A room in an abandoned building of the Bronx, Bogotá's infamous neighborhood, awaits a makeover.Lucy Sherriff

“At 5am the police arrived. They kicked our doors down, and drove us out. We grabbed whatever we could carry, but we had to leave most of our belongings behind.”

The speaker, Omar Lopez Franco, is one of just five people left in the Bronx, two notorious streets in Colombia’s capital of Bogotá, just a stone’s throw from the Presidential Palace. The Bronx was left to rot for more than 10 years by the government, until 2,000 odd police descended on the zone and shut down the entire area in 2016.