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Enrique Peñalosa

Enrique Peñalosa

Former Mayor
City of Bogota & Top 100 Most Influential Urbanists
Colombia Future of Living Summit

Enrique Penalosa is an internationally respected urban thinker, who, as Mayor of Bogota in two non-consecutive terms, profoundly transformed his city from one with neither bearings, nor self-esteem into an international model in several areas. As adviser and lecturer, he has influenced policies in many cities throughout the world.  

Among his achievements was the creation of TransMilenio, the world´s best BRT (Bus based mass transit), which today moves 2,4 million passengers daily, inspired by the Curitiba model but much improved in capacity and speed, which has served as model to hundreds of cities. Currently its lines are being extended by 61%. He contracted the first Metro line in Bogota which is under construction. He also created an extensive bicycle network when only a few northern European cities had one, greenways, hundreds of parks, formidable sports and cultural centers and large libraries, 67 schools, 35 of which managed by a successful private-public scheme and high quality urban development projects for more than 500,000 residents and a radical redevelopment of 33 hectares of the center of Bogota, previously controlled by drug dealers and crime which required demolishing more than 1200 buildings occupying 32 hectares, a few blocks from the heart of Colombia´s institutional heart, including the Presidential house.    

His advisory work concentrates on urban mobility, quality of life, competitiveness, equity and the leadership required to turn visions into realities.  

Penalosa has lectured in hundreds of cities and in many of the world´s most important universities. He has advised local and national governments in Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America and the United States.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of AMALI (African Mayoral Leadership Initiative), Fellow of the Institute for Urban Research of the University of Pennsylvania. For over a decade he was President of the Board of New York´s ITDP (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy) of New York; member of the London School of Economics´ Cities Program Advisory Board. He was member of the Commission for the Reinvention of Transport of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority created by the New York Governor Cuomo.  

His book Equality and the City was recently published by The University of Pennsylvania; in Spanish it was published Villegas Editores and in Portuguese by the IPP (Instituto Pereira Passos) of Rio de Janeiro.  

Penalosa has been included in Planetizen´s list of The Most Influential Urbanists, Past and Present, the most recent time in July 2023. He was also one of ¨15 Thought Leaders in Sustainable City Development¨ selected by Identity Review July 2023. He has been awarded important international recognitions such as the Stockholm Challenge; the Gothenburg Sustainability Prize; the 2018 Edmund N. Bacon Award, the highest tribute of The Center for Design and Architecture of Philadelphia, given to him because of ¨the world-wide influence his pioneering initiatives have had on public transportation, infrastructure investment, and public space, including in cities such as Philadelphia and New York City¨. For Penalosa´s work Bogota was awarded the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale.  

Penalosa has a BA in Economics and History from Duke University, a Degree in Government from the IIAP (now fused with ENA) in France and a DESS in Public Administration from the University of Paris 2 Pantheon-Assas. He was Dean of Management at Externado University in Bogota and a Visiting Scholar at New York University.

Penalosa´s TED Talk has nearly one million views, his X account in Spanish has more than 2 million followers.