Latin America is the most urbanized region in the world with almost 80 per cent of the total population living in urban centers (UN Habitat 2014). Despite the benefits brought about by agglomeration forces, large urban expansions in lower and middle-income countries are not well planned and rather respond to economic forces shaping spontaneous growth that lead to inefficient outcomes of land use.
In Bogotá, Colombia, urban expansion triggered by population growth and internal displacement has created environmental pressures on strategic forest reserves located in the city’s iconic Eastern Hills. In recent years, the urbanization of these hills has generated much heated public and legal debates. Public discussions on urban expansion in Bogotá have often been centered around weather the rich in the city should be allowed to continue appropriating land in the Eastern Hills. Through the implementation of a Choice Experiment (CE), this research seeks to estimate the social costs arising from urban developments in the Easter Hills of Bogotá, including landscape degradation and losses in recreational services, among others, and to compare this economic value with compensation payments calculated by the local environmental authority.