10/09 SPECIAL FOCUS SESSIONS: TRACK II
Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. He advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of age, gender and social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is on the design and use of
parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, using public transit, and new use of cars.
Gil is the founder and chair of the board of the successful Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 Cities. He is also chair of the board of World Urban Parks, the international representative body for the city parks, open space and recreation sector. Gil also runs his own international consulting firm – Gil Penalosa & Associates, is an accomplished keynote speaker, facilitator of strategic workshops and advisor to decision makers and community groups.
Gil has been a strong supporter and advocate for improving city parks, first making his mark in the late 1990s, when he led the design and development of over 200 parks including Simon Bolivar, a 113-hectare park in the heart of the city. His team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”/Open Streets – a program that sees over 1.5 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today is internationally recognized and emulated.
Because of Gil’s unique blend of experience, pragmatism and passion, his leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations. He has worked in over 300 different cities in all continents. He also serves as senior advisor to Children & Nature Network, Vision Zero Network 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 2015 Gil
received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Urban Planning at the prominent University of Sweden, SLU. In 2017 Gil was listed in Planetizen’s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists of all time.