Enrique Penalosa is an internationally respected urban thinker, who, as Mayor of Bogota in two non-consecutive terms, profoundly transformed his city. As adviser and lecturer, he has influenced policies in many cities throughout the world.
As Mayor of Bogota Penalosa he changed the 8 million inhabitants capital of Colombia from one with neither bearings, nor self-esteem into an international model for improvements in mobility, quality of life and sustainability.
Among his achievements was the creation of TransMilenio, the world´s best BRT (Bus based mass transit), which today moves 2,5 million passengers daily, inspired by the Curitiba model but much improved in capacity and speed, which has served as model to hundreds of cities. He also created an extensive bicycle network when only the northern European cities had one, greenways, hundreds of parks, formidable sports and cultural centers and large libraries, nearly a 100 schools, 35 of which managed by a successful private-public scheme and high quality urban development projects close to 500,000 people 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 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 CITISCOPE Board of Directors; 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. Penalosa was Advisor to the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a cultural program that engages a new generation of leaders in architecture, art, science, design, technology and education in order to work on the challenges of our urban future.
He recently published the book ‘Ciudad, Igualdad, Felicidad’ (City, Equality, Happiness) soon be published in English by the University of Pennsylvania and in Portuguese by the IPP (Instituto Pereira Passos) in Rio.
Penalosa has been included in Planetizen´s list of The Most Influential Urbanists, Past and Present, the most recent time in 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 for 2 years.
Penalosa´s TED Talk has nearly one million views, his Twitter account in Spanish has more than 2 million followers