Gil is passionate about cities for all people

Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa


Founder, 8 80 Cities | Ambassador, World Urban Parks
President, GPA | Founder and Advocate, Our Third Act

Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. He advises decision makers and communities worldwide on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for all, regardless of age, gender, ability 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 the promotion of sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, using public transit, and new use of cars.

Gil is the Founder of the successful Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 Cities, as well as first Ambassador of World Urban Parks, the international representative body for the city parks, open space and recreation sector. In addition, Gil leads a private international consulting firm - Gil Penalosa & Associates, providing services as an inspirational keynote speaker, instructor of Master Classes and advisor to decision makers. Recently he created Our Third Act, an advocacy group focused on helping older adults live healthier and happier.

Throughout his career, Gil has been a strong advocate for improving city parks, making his first mark in Bogotá, Colombia, where he led the design and construction of over 200 parks - including Simon Bolivar, a 113-hectare park in the heart of the city. His team also initiated the ‘new Ciclovía’ / Open Streets - a program that sees over 1.3 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday of the year, and today is internationally recognized and emulated.

Because of Gil’s unique blend of experience, pragmatism and passion, many cities and organizations worldwide seek his leadership and valuable advice. He has worked in over 350 different cities in all continents.

Gil holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. Gil received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Urban Planning at the prominent Swedish university, SLU. He is a Certified Professional Speaker by the US-NSA. Two years ago he was listed in Planetizen’s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists, and last year received in Australia the World Urban Parks Annual Distinguished Individual Award.

Paula Olavarria

Senior Associate
Executive Producer, podcasts and webinar series

Paula joined 8 80 Cities in 2013 for the first time, while developing a successful marketing career in the private sector. Now she is back, as executive producer of the webinar series, A Walk in the Park with Gil, and, developing the podcast series, Gil and 8 80 Cities. She is excited about this possibility to contribute to improve communities’ well-being, which is what she loves the most. She is a passionate connecting people to help transform cities into more liveable & sustainable cities. She has special expertise in digital marketing communications, which she is applying in these new projects. She loves nature, hiking, riding her bike & walking.


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