Interview: Mauricio Rodas Espinel, Mayor of Quito

Why did you become mayor?

I always dreamed of working in the public sector and working as mayor gives you the great opportunity to solve people’s everyday problems.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Being in permanent contact with people. Everyday we visit neighbourhoods all over the city. This gives us the opportunity to listen to people’s needs and dreams. Having the capacity and tools to actually fulfil those dreams is what I enjoy the most.

What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced in being a mayor?

Our country suffered a terrible earthquake in April 2016. Even though Quito did not suffer too badly, the whole city mobilised in order to send humanitarian aid and specialised support services that were needed.

What do you think have been your biggest achievements?

We are building the first metro line–the biggest infrastructure project in our history. We are also building the first cable transport system as a means of public transport, and improving the existing BRT corridors.

What was your last overseas trip as mayor?

I went to Dubai last November to participate in the Global Council of the Future Summit of the World Economic Forum.

Who is the most interesting person you have met or worked with since becoming mayor?

Mauricio Macri, the former Mayor of Buenos Aires, is a great administrator. Ban Ki-moon, the outgoing Secretary General of the United Nations and Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, a great woman with a very clear vision of sustainability.

What do you think of social networking for mayors?

It is indispensable, not only to send out messages from the local authority, but as a means to understand what people are thinking and what are their most pressing needs.

Where do you expect to be in five years’ time?

For now I am totally focused in completing my term the best possible way and for that I have two and a half years to go.

Favourite place in your city and why?

La Ronda which is a beautiful stone street located in the historical district with wonderful architecture.

What are you reading right now?

I am reading a book by a Swedish urban specialist called Closer Together, it talks about how cities should become denser.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Pretty much both because work is so intense that you have to make your best efforts during night and day.

Hobbies and interests outside of work?

Reading and running.

Do you have a favourite sport team?

Liga Deportiva Universitaria, the best team in Ecuador.

Favourite travel destination?

If I have to choose one I would say Thailand.

Who is your hero or inspiration?

Mahatma Gandhi.

What advice would you give to the first time visitor to your city?

Come with an open mind, not only to enjoy our beautiful churches, plazas, temples and colonial architecture but also to have a chance to visit the ecosystems surrounding the city.

What is your life philosophy?

There is no dream that is not possible.


EDUCATION: Law Doctorate, Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito and Masters in Public Administration and Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

DATE ELECTED MAYOR: 24 February, 2014

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT: President and Founder of Consulting Firm ETHOS, México

Image: Mauricio Rodas Espinel, Mayor of Quito (Wikimedia Commons)

Source: Cities Today

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.