Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa


Founder, 8 80 Cities
Ambassador, World Urban Parks
President, Gil Penalosa & Associates
Founder and Advocate, Our Third Act

Inspiring Change. Vision + Action

Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa is passionate about creating cities for all people. He has inspired and advised decision makers in more than 350 different cities around the world. His priority now is on the post-pandemic city, equitable and sustainable, where all people can live healthier and happier regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, or socio-economic background.

His focus is on the design and use of parks, streets, sidewalks as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, taking public transit, and new uses of cars. Gil highlights the benefits to public health, the environment, mobility, economic development.

Gil is Founder and Chair of 8 80 Cities, a successful Canadian-based international non-profit organization, grounded on a simple but powerful concept which still guides much of his work: What if everything we did in our cities had to be great for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old? Surely, we would end up with fantastic cities for all!

World Urban Parks
345 Cities logo
World Urban Parks
345 Cities logo

NEW: Services offered Virtually & in Person

Inspirational Keynotes

Master Class

Strategic Advising

Global Clients

Gil has worked with diverse clients in over 350 cities, including both public and private organizations. His work intersects with a number of fields such as transportation, public health, urban planning, parks and recreation, public realm, urban design, education, and economic development.

Check the map to see where Gil has worked since 2000.



Read all testimonials here

For almost two decades I have been able to follow the work of Gil Penalosa, as well as cooperating more closely on a number of occasions. Cooperating with Gil has always been very fruitful and inspiring with direct links to the experiences Gil has acquired through his extensive work in Bogota, Colombia which is indeed a good place for starting a lifelong career for making better cities for people.

Jan Gehl, world renowned urbanist. Founder Gehl Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark

Gil - You are so inspiring, and I can't tell you how much it means to have such a great partner and ambassador supporting our work both here and around the world. All best and thanks again from one of your biggest fans.

Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner, DOT NYC, USA

Gil, your broad experience, clear-eyed analysis, infectious enthusiasm and amazing accomplishments make you a "global treasure" in the urban parks movement. Keep up your great work!

Peter Harnik, Director City Park Excellence, TPL, Washington, USA

Gil, I truly cannot thank you enough for what you accomplished during your visit. You really succeeded in firing up our own (already-committed) troops and reminding them why our work at the ground level is so critical. And you raised the thinking and expectations of our city leaders to a new level. This is unprecedented.

Leah Shahum, Former Executive Director San Fco Bike Coalition; currently Founder & Chair Vision Zero Network, USA

Gil s a forceful, passionate speaker about places that create happiness and community well-being. He is articulate as well as knowledgeable; he can put these issues into terms that a politician, lay-person, designer, transportation planner or community center manager can see the benefits these issues can bring to their community.

Fred Kent, President Project for Public Spaces (PPS), USA

Your leadership was so critical to much of what we accomplished in Saint Paul. Thank you!

Chris Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul, MN, USA

Your powerful vision and ambition to holistically make cities a better place for all - toddlers and grannies - has had a long-lasting impact on our city-making. Your passion, experience and ability to communicate important concepts straightforwardly has inspired us to put kids at the center of our urban-scape. All cities need to hear your message of 'all ages, all abilities'.

Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, Albania

Gil Penalosa is one of those charismatic leaders that needs to be heard. His contribution in many cities around the world in providing simple solutions to improve the liveability of cities makes him a very important player in this age of urbanisation. Gil, founder of 8 80 Cities is a man who can assist in taking other cities forward on the quest for liveability.

Rob Adams, Director City Design, Melbourne, Australia

Gil is one of the most inspiring people I know. I first met him when he came to Victoria to help plan our bike network. His mix of warmth, intellect, experience and humour makes him a pleasure to work with; I look forward to future projects.

Lisa Helps, Mayor of Victoria, BC, Canada

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The 8 80 Cities Connection

Gil is the Founder & Chair of 8 80 Cities. After many years running the organization as Executive Director, he now serves as Chair of the Board of Directors. Gil Penalosa & Associates and 8 80 Cities work closely on some projects when they require the strengths of the two organizations.

To learn about 8 80 Cities services click here.

Interested in working with Gil?

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