Keynote Speakers

Creating Vibrant & Healthy Cities for All

Monday, August 5 | 9 a.m.

Speaker: Gil Penalosa, MBA, PhDhc, CSP | 8 80 Cities

About Gil Penalosa

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

Gil is the founder and chair of the board of the internationally recognized non-profit organization 8 80 Cities, based in Canada. The organization was created centred on a simple but powerful philosophy; if you create a great city for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for all people. Gil also runs his own international consulting firm - Gil Penalosa & Associates and is an accomplished keynote speaker, facilitator of strategic workshops and advisor to decision makers and community groups.

Because of Gil’s unique blend of experience, pragmatism and passion, his leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations; he has worked in over 300 different cities in all continents.

Gil has been a strong supporter and advocate for improving city parks, first making his mark in the late 1990s, when he led the transformation of Bogota’s park system as Commissioner. During his tenure, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks including Simon Bolivar, a 113-hectare park in the heart of the city. His team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”/ Open Streets - a program that sees over 1.5 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today is internationally recognized and emulated.

Gil is chair of the board of World Urban Parks, the international representative body for the city parks, open space and recreation sector. He also serves as senior advisor to Vision Zero Network, Children & Nature Network, and America Walks.

Gil holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. He received the Queen Elizabeth II - Diamond Jubilee Medal, given by the Governor General of Canada. In 2015 Gil received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Urban Planning at the prominent Swedish university, SLU. In 2017. He is a Certified as Professional Speaker by the US-NSA. Gil is listed in Planetizen’s Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists and recently received in Australia the World Urban Parks Annual Distinguished Individual Award.

Recently Gil has also contributed chapters to three books: Enabling Cycling Cities: Ingredients for Success – CIVITAS, Europe; Facilities for Cyclists – Copenhagen, Denmark; Resilient Sustainable Cities, Melbourne, Australia.


Keynote: Janette Sadik-Khan

Tuesday, August 6 | 9 a.m.

Speaker: Janette Sadik-Khan, Bloomberg Associates

About Janette Sadik-Khan

Gil PenalosaJanette Sadik-Khan is one of the world’s foremost authorities on transportation and urban transformation. She served as New York City’s transportation commissioner from 2007 to 2013 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, overseeing historic changes to the city’s streets—closing Broadway to cars in Times Square, building nearly 400 miles of bike lanes and creating more than 60 plazas citywide.

A founding principal with Bloomberg Associates, she works with mayors around the world to reimagine and redesign their cities. She chairs the National Association of Transportation Officials, implementing new, people-focused street design standards, which have been adopted in 76 North American cities. She is the author of Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution.

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