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An international leader in creating great cities and communities through active public spaces, Gil Peñalosa is passionate about realizing the potential of great places to foster healthier communities with happier residents.

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 create one of the most successful and renowned parks and recreation systems in the world. Together with his team, Gil:

  • Transformed corporate culture from a bureaucratic orientation to a service focus, through an internal educational process and implementation of success indicators.
  • Successfully opened 91 kilometers of car-free city roads on Sundays, the Ciclovia, where over 1.5 m. people come out weekly to walk, run, skate and bike.
  • Created many recreational events, from small neighborhood activities to major events such as the Summer Festival with over 100 activities and attendance of 3 million people.
  • Re-designed the Master Plan for Simon Bolivar Park(360 hectares), renovated the 30% that was operating and constructed the central park area of 113 hectares which is now one of the world’s most successful parks with over 6 million visitors per year.
  • Designed and Built 3 metropolitan parks, 15 zone parks, 150 neighborhood parks.
  • Formulated the City’s Master Plan.
  • Developed strategies that generated new resources from sponsors and partnerships.

Gil also worked for 5 years as a Strategic Leader at the City of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (Pop 700,000). There he was Manager of the Recreation and Parks 30 year Master Plan, led strategic Placemaking initiatives, worked on creating many great public places and helped form a new inter-agency task force called “Building the City of the 21st Century.” Having known Project for Public Spaces from his days in Bogotá, he brought in PPS to collaborate on these efforts, training the city staff in Placemaking and guiding high profile Placemaking projects for the city centre.

He lives in Ontario, Canada and enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and their three children.


Gil earned a Master in Business Administration from UCLA’s Management School.

Guillermo (Gil) Peñalosa was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by Project for Public Spaces