Photo by David Niddrie
Gil Peñalosa at Velo-city Global 2012, Vancouver
Gil Peñalosa is adamant that the way we experience cities must be changed, especially now. He feels that five key elements will drive change in urban communities.
1) A Sense of Urgency: With growing urbanization, climate change and rising oil costs, people and their governments must act now.
2) Political Will: Politicians need to have guts and be willing to take risks. “They must understand that the general interests must prevail over the particular,” and do what is right for all people, not just what is right for the next election.
3) Doers in the Public Sector: Government bureaucrats need to remind themselves that they are paid to get things done. A planner’s job is to “find solutions to the problems, not problems to the solution.”
4) Leadership: “Behind every good public action there is always a leader.”
5) Public Participation: “Citizens can no longer be spectators. Citizens need to participate.” Send emails, make phone calls, go to public meetings and get engaged – because someone else is. That someone else is setting the agenda, and as it stands that agenda hasn’t been making the changes that cities and their people need.