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Enrique Penalosa

Enrique Penalosa

Urbanist, Former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia
Enrique Penalosa is an internationally respected leader in the urban field who has significantly contributed to the progress of Bogotá, his city. His vision and proposals have also influenced policies and projects elsewhere in the world. He is currently a consultant on Urban Vision and Strategy. His advisory work focuses on the identification and elaboration of projects for improving mobility, public space and quality of life. His main objective is creating cities more propitious for equality, happiness and competitiveness. He works as well on the organizational and leadership requirements necessary to achieve the objectives cities set for themselves. 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. As Mayor of Bogotá in two non-consecutive terms (immediate reelection is not permitted) the 8 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. Due to Penalosa’s work, Bogota 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 and 2016-2019 periods as Mayor, Penalosa implemented a model which seeks to achieve that no one feels inferior or excluded. Penalosa proposes that a good city can be a powerful means to achieve that end. Among many policies he implemented to that end, he gave priority in the use of road space to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. He created TransMilenio, the world’s best BRT system. Inspired by Curitiba’s, but with very significant enhancements, it has served as a model to hundreds of such systems all over the world. With 114 kilometers of trunk ways it moves more than 2,5 million passengers daily. During his second term, Penalosa left a metro line and several additional trunk ways under construction; with this additional capacity, Bogota’s mass transit system will move more than 4.5 million passengers daily in 2026. Between 1998 to 2000, when neither Paris nor Madrid or any other city in America had bike ways, Penalosa built a bikeways network in Bogotá. He built more than 250 kilometers of physically protected bikeways, which he augmented during his 2016-2019 term and now is more than 600 kilometers long. With the projects he left contracted and under construction, hundreds of additional kilometers of bikeways will be added in the coming years. Such system and other Penalosa policies have made Bogota the American city with the highest bicycle use, where for every two people who commute by private car, one does it by bicycle.