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Enrique Penalosa is an influential thinker on urban challenges particularly those related to the relation between urban design and sustainability, mobility, equity, public space and well being. His vision and proposals have significantly influenced policies in numerous cities throughout the world. He is currently a consultant on Urban Vision and Sustainability Strategy and works with many local, regional and national governments as well as other organizations all over the world. He is President of the Board of Directors of ITDP (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy).
As mayor of Bogotá, the 7 million inhabitant's capital of Colombia, between 1998 and 2000 he implemented profound changes which transformed the city and its citizens's attitude towards it. He massively improved slums, built formidable schools and nurseries, beautiful libraries and hundreds of parks and other pedestrian spaces. He was a leading innovator in America in creating a 300-km bicycle path network, restricting car use and radically improving pedestrian facilities. He built more than a hundred kilometers of pedestrian-only streets and greenways, such as the Porvenir Promenade, a 24 km pedestrian and bicycle- only street that goes through the poorest neighborhoods, and the Juan Amarillo Greenway, a pedestrian street that goes from the richest to the poorest neighborhoods of the capital. Inspired in the Curitiba model he created the TransMilenio bus system which has been a model to many cities and it is now considered the best bus system in the world.
Penalosa has lectured at many universities throughout the world as well as many environmental, urban, and managerial forums. His work and ideas, as well as his articles, have been featured in publications from many countries.
He 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 and has taught at several Colombian universities