Executive Director, 8-80 Cities

Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. 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: walking, cycling and use of public transit. Because of Gil’s unique blend of pragmatism and passion, his 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 8 years, Gil has worked in over 150 different cities on 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 Simon Bolivar, a 360-hectare park in the heart of the city, is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than three million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil’s team also initiated the ‘new Ciclovia’— a programme that sees over one million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometres of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today this event is internationally recognised 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 New York City, American Trails and America Walks. Gil holds a Master of Business Administration degree 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.

IUCN WCPA Parks Australia NSW NPWS