Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa

Designation: 

Executive Director of 8-80 Cities

Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities. Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility. Because of his unique blend of pragmatism and passion, Gil’s leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past six years, Gil has worked in over 130 different cities in all continents.

As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simón Bolívar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city, is the best known. Gil’s team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program which sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today it’s internationally recognized and emulated.

Gil also works as Urban Expert on Mobility and Citizen Engagement for the renowned Danish firm Gehl Architects. He serves on the Board of Directors of City Parks Alliance, USA, and is a Senior Advisor to StreetFilms in NYC, American Trails, State of Jalisco, Mexico, and America Walks. Gil holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. In 2013 he received the Queen Elizabeth II - Diamond Jubilee Medal, given by the Governor General of Canada, and in 2012 was named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Hispanic – Canadians” in 2012. Gil also recently contributed chapters to three books: Enabling Cycling Cities: Ingredients for Success – CIVITAS, Europe; Facilities for Cyclists – Copenhagen, Denmark; Resilient Sustainable Cities, Melbourne, Australia.

speaker_year: 

2014