Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for all: from 8 to 80 years old. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as on sustainable mobility. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past six years, Gil has worked in over 130 different cities in all continents.More than special events, an 8-80 city is one that meets the popsicle test - can you send your eight-year-old out on her own to get a popsicle? Do you trust the street enough that your 80 year-old grandmother can get groceries by walking and/or transit? Do the streets function for people who aren't making a drive-alone trip? Do the streets and development patterns support public health, or get in the way of it?
As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simón Bolívar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil’s team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program which sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today it's internationally recognized and emulated.
There aren't many streets in Salem that meet an 8-80 standard, and it would be great to create more of them. Great to accelerate implementation of what we've adopted already, and great to raise the standards for what we've yet to adopt.
Salem right now has all these semi-dormant studies - Bike and Walk Salem, the Downtown Mobility Study, the River Crossing Alternate Modes Study. There are plenty of adopted plans with projects that express the 8-80 ideals to various degrees, but most of the projects are not funded, and none of them have much urgency behind them. Sunday Streets is scheduled for one day only in 2014.
Penalosa's lecture will be an opportunity to introduce more people to the concepts and to build more support to take to City Council and our neighborhoods.
The lecture will be Wednesday, February 19th at 6:30pm on the Willamette University campus. Doors will open at 6pm. More details - like the exact venue - to come! But save the date.