About Us

We believe

Whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, cities should work for everyone.

Our Vision

We exist to create safe and happy cities that prioritize people’s well-being. We believe that if everything we do in our public spaces is great for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, then it will be great for all people.

Our Mission

8 80 Cities improves the quality of life for people in cities by bringing citizens together to enhance mobility and public space so that together we can create more vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities.


It started in January 2007.

Frustrated by the lack of progress happening in cities both locally and globally, our founder, Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa, set out to light a fire under decision-makers and community leaders reticent to change. In his words, he wanted to help cities “move from talking to doing.”

Having led urban transformation projects in Bogota in the late 1990s, he knew the tremendous power of investing in sustainable mobility, parks, and public spaces. After moving to the Greater Toronto area with his family, Gil incorporated the not-for-profit organization “Walk and Bike for Life” with the goal of promoting walking, bicycling, parks, and public spaces as a means to building healthier, happier, and more equitable communities. The organization quickly grew as municipalities and partners around the world began seeking out leadership and expertise in creating cities for all.

Fast forward 10 years, and we’ve:

  • Successfully re-branded ourselves “8 80 Cities” to reflect our people-centered approach
  • Worked with over 350 communities across 6 continents
  • Become experts in unconventional citizen engagement
  • Helped lead an open streets movement around the world
  • Delivered over 100 community-led engagement projects to improve parks, streets and public spaces for all
  • Partnered with global leaders in public health, transportation, parks and recreation, urban design, and more.

What will the next 10 years bring?

Our Impact

Presentations + Workshops






Open Streets Projects

What We Do

We work with you to engage your community.

Let’s Collaborate

Our team can help your community’s streets and public spaces thrive.