Enrique Penalosa is a leader in the urban field, whose vision and proposals have significantly influenced policies throughout the world. His advisory work concentrates on sustainability, mobility, equity, public space and quality of life; and the organizational and leadership requirements to turn ideas into projects and realities. He is also an accomplished executive, who has achieved positive results in diverse activities in which he has been involved.
Penalosa has lectured internationally in numerous environmental, urban design and policy and university forums and has advised governments in Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America and the United States. He is currently a consultant on Urban Vision, Strategy and Policy. He is President of the Board of the ITDP (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy) of New York and member of the London School of Economics´ Cities Program Advisory Board.
At the end of 2009, Penalosa together with other three former mayors re-founded the Green Party of Colombia of which he is currently co-president.
As Mayor of Bogota, the 7 million inhabitants’ capital of Colombia, Penalosa profoundly transformed the city, turning it from one with neither bearings, nor self-esteem or hope into an international model for improvements in quality of life, mobility, equity and sustainability and has been awarded important international recognitions such as the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale or the Stockholm Challenge among others.
During his 1998-2001 tenure –the Colombian Constitution does not allow for immediate reelection, Mr. Penalosa implemented an environmentally and socially sustainable model which prioritizes public transport, public pedestrian spaces and children’s happiness. “In a good city every detail should show respect for human dignity,” Penalosa says.
He created TransMilenio, probably the world’s best bus-based transit system; a network of bicycle paths; slum improvement projects; a land bank to provide low income housing with quality urbanism; greenways and pedestrian promenades through low income neighbourhoods; radical improvements to the city centre; daily car use restrictions during peak hours and an annual Car Free Day; formidable libraries and parks; high quality public schools managed through an innovative scheme by the best private schools in the country.
Penalosa emphasizes quality of life as the best instrument for competitiveness in the new century, when attracting highly qualified and creative individuals will be especially crucial for economic development.
Penalosa holds a BA in Economics and History from Duke University, a Master’s Degree in Government from the IIAP in Paris and a DESS in Public Administration from the University of Paris II. He was also a Visiting Scholar at New York University for 3 years.