Walking, Bicycling and Public Spaces: Lessons from Bogota and Beyond
An evening with Gil Peñalosa
On August 20, 2008, the Vancouver Public Space Network was pleased to be able to co-sponsor a public lecture by Gil Peñalosa, former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Columbia, and current Executive Director of Walk and Bike for Life. The presentation looked at the intersection of sustainable transportation, public health, urban design and the public realm:
We are now facing a “perfect storm” of increasing global warming and environmental degradation, growing traffic congestion, an obesity crisis and other public health concerns, soaring energy costs and slowing economic growth. It is time to go beyond baby steps and take some major leaps. We must re-position walking and cycling as key parts of the solution to these major challenges. As Bogota has shown, creating great public spaces for walking and cycling contributes enormously to creating healthier, happier, more thriving communities.
The evening was co-sponsored by Translink, the SFU City Program, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Public Space Network. It took place at SFU Harbour Centre and was attended by a capacity audience. [source video link]
Gil earned a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from UCLA's Management School. Following years of private and public sector senior managerial experience, the Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia (pop. 7 m), appointed him Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City. Gil led his team to design and build over 200 parks, of which the best known is the Simon Bolivar (360 hectares). They were also successful in opening 91 kilometres of car-free city roads on Sundays, the Ciclovia, where over 1.5 m. people come out weekly to walk, run, skate and bike.
Gil is Executive Director of the Canada based non-profit Walk & Bike for Life as well as a successful international speaker and consultant. In his presentations and workshops on creating better Communities, he develops strong linkages of Walking, Bicycling, Parks and Trails, with improving the Personal and Public Health, enhancing our Transportation systems, providing Recreation for ALL, a cleaner Environment and advancing Economic Development.
He also works as Senior Consultant for the renowned Danish firm Gehl Architects, as Senior Associate with NYC's Project for Public Spaces, and as Consultant to the City of Mexico - UNAM. He serves on the Boards of Directors of American Trails and City Parks Alliance as well as on the Advisory Committees of America Walks and WalkON.
:: A version by Jonathon Maus that provides some key quotes from Gil Penalosa
:: Gil Penalosa. Creating Great Cities: Walking and Biking. Presentation at the Sustainable Transforum (held May 28-29, 2007 in Toronto). (PDF)
:: YouTube - Gil Penalosa on the Esplanade in Portland.
:: YouTube - Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation – Press Conference, November 1, 2006, - Featuring Gil Penalosa and others
:: CBC Metro Morning (August 1, 2007). Metro Morning' journalist Scott Regehr interviews Gil Penalosa.
:: National Post. Creating car-free cities: U.S. conference drives home novel ideas. By Andrew Munger. Thursday, July 10, 2008
:: Hemispheres Magazine. Roads Less Travelled. By Dave Butwin. April 2008
:: New York Times. Car-Free Streets, a Colombian Export, Inspire Debate. By Javier C. Hernandez. June 24, 2008
:: Walk and Bike for Life – Gil Penalosa’s Mississauga-based non-profit.
:: Videos of the Ciclovia and other car-free initiatives on Walk and Bike for Life
:: Street Films – Lessons from Bogotá
:: Street Films – Ciclovia
:: Cycling for Everyone: Lessons for Vancouver from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany - John Pucher, professor of planning and public policy, Rutgers University, May 15, 2008, Vancouver, SFU lecture – (video).
:: Car-Free Portland – 2008 Conference Website
:: VPSN Transportation webpage - includes links to various Vancouver-based initaitives around sustainable transportation