When he worked as the parks commissioner in Bogotá, Gil Penalosa helped trigger a quality of urban life revolution of sorts by promoting car-free Sundays – “ciclovias” -- on hundreds of kilometers of the streets around the Colombian capital. As this video shows, over 1.3 million residents each week would take to their bikes or participate in festivals and activities throughout Bogotá. In so doing, they boosted both their enjoyment of the city and their own fitness levels, thus creating a lively, low-emission sense of community for people from all walks of life, so to speak.
In his current gig as the executive director of Toronto-based 8-80 Cities, Penalosa travels the world with a trenchant question that arose out of those experiences: how do we create cities in which both 8-year-olds and 80-year-olds can move about safely and enjoyably? "We have to stop building cities as if everyone is 30 years-old and athletic," he says.