Sustainable City Series Features Renowned Livable Cities Advisor

by Erica Peterson on March 12, 2012

Louisville’s Urban Design Studio continues its Sustainable City series tomorrow.

The event’s featured speaker is Gil Penalosa. For years he was the parks commissioner in Bogota, Colombia, and now he’s the executive director of Canadian non-profit 8-80 Cities.

Penalosa says his work focuses on helping cities become more livable. One of the common impediments to that is cities that don’t make neighborhoods walkable and place too much emphasis on cars.

“I think that we have been building cities for around 5,000 years because sometimes people say, oh the streets were built for cars,” Penalosa said. “No. The streets were built thousands of years before the cars even existed. But it has been only in the last 60, 70 years that we have been building the cities thinking more o n car mobility than on people’s happiness.”

In Bogota, Penalosa helped implement a weekly event where miles of the city’s roads were closed to cars and opened to walkers, bikers and skaters.

He says the principles he’ll talk about tomorrow are ones that will work in cities all over the world.

“Everything that I’m talking about is adapted to any city,” he said. “Regardless of the size, regardless if it has winter or summer. And that’s why when I go to Louisville, I’m going to show multiple examples of many cities. Some of them are bigger, some of them are smaller. Some of them are wealthier, some of them are poorer. But every single slide that I show are things that are doable in Louisville.”

Penalosa will speak tomorrow at 6pm. Visit the Urban Design Studio’s website for more information.

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