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Gil Penalosa: We believe the citizens are the experts

Gil Penalosa founded the non-profit organisation 8 80 Cities in 2007 with a simple but powerful philosophy: if you create a great city for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old, you will create a successful city for all people. Hence how the name 8 80 Cities came to life.

Since then his organisation has worked with over 250 communities of 6 continents and on more than 100 engagement projects partnering with stakeholders from public health, transportation, parks and recreation and urban design.

Penalosa is also very active on social media, and he has almost 14,000 followers on Twitter alone. He uses his Twitter feed to get his voice heard about how urban spaces are used and designed, and to promote the active use of these spaces and active transport. He has also been a Tedx speaker, stretching his advocacy efforts further.

But face-to-face interaction is still essential to contemporary advocacy and activation, Penalosa explains.

“We use social media as a complement (not instead of) to in-person meetings engaging the community. We believe the citizens are the experts, and not just the loudest, but all, especially the silent majority: the children, the older adults and the poor. We must make sure to have reached as many stakeholders as possible before making a decision, and social media provides a tool to reach some specific segments,” he says.

Now also the chair of World Urban Parks, Penalosa will bring a wealth of international experience to the MOVEment Spaces plenary session and the opening Creative Conversation between all keynote speakers from the sessions on 5 October.

You won’t want to miss it – there is still time to register

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