Guillermo (Gil) Peñalosa
The Master of Ceremonies
Internationally acknowledged as an inhabitable city and social marketing advisor, Guillermo Peñalosa is a living and healthy community enthusiast. With a view to improving everyone's quality of life, Guillermo promotes issues related to pedestrians, the use of bicycles and a better use of parks, walk paths and other public spaces.
As the Executive Manager of the Canadian non-profit organisation “8-80 Cities”, and when he was the Commissioner for Parks, Sport and Recreation in Bogota, Guillermo is tirelessly committed to building healthy communities. He also acts as a Senior Consultant for Gehl Architects in Denmark, and serves on the Board of Directors of City Parks Alliance, American Trails and Ciclovias Recreativas de las Américas.
After years of managerial experience in the private and public sectors, the Mayor of Bogota appointed him the city's Commissioner for Parks, Sport and Recreation. He was responsible for the development and construction of more than 200 parks, the best known of which is the Simon Bolivar Park, 360 hectares in the very heart of the city. The park became the venue for the Summer Festival, with more than 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million visitors, the country's most important recreationalcultural event.
Guillermo successfully relaunched the car-free Sunday system, which grew from 13 to 121 kilometres and included a management system, signposting and supplementary activities, resulting in more than 1.3 million people who walk, run, skate or cycle every week. This International example has been copied in a large number of cities.
Thanks to a combination of pragmatism and enthusiasm, Guillermo acts in an advisory capacity for many cities and organisations. He is a popular speaker and has made presentations at more than 150 events in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America.
Guillermo has a master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Management. He lives in Toronto, Canada, and spends his spare time involved in recreational activities with his wife and three children.