At the World Community Film Festival last year, an important film was screened about a movement that has been creating waves of inspiration in communities around the world, with ripple effects soon to be felt here in the Comox Valley.
The film Bogotá: Building a Sustainable City focused on the transition of Bogotá, Colombia from a troubled city to a community of green parks, new libraries, and state-of-the-art transportation. This remarkable transition came from a vision carried out by Gil Peñalosa, commissioner of parks, sport and recreation for the City of Bogotá.
Peñalosa believed that cities should encourage walking and biking, which would promote community and make the streets safer for everyone.
Does this aim sounds familiar?
The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition has been promoting safe cycling infrastructure for our community since its formation.
Plans are now underway to bring Peñalosa to the Comox Valley on June 16 and 17, to share his knowledge with the Comox Valley.
Internationally renowned as a livable city adviser and social marketing strategist, Peñalosa is passionate about vibrant and healthy communities that improve the quality of life for all residents. His talks are designed to re-energize local citizens and politicians: to interest and motivate them to create more people friendly cities — moving from talking about it, to doing it.
In his position in Bogotá, Peñalosa led the design and development of over 200 parks, created a 10-day summer festival, and initiated car-free Sundays. Now, as executive director of Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities, Peñalosa’s commitment to fostering healthy communities remains front and centre.
“Part of the solution in dealing with air quality problems, climate change, and the obesity epidemic, is to design neighborhoods around active forms of transportation, such as walking and bicycling,” says Dr. Bob Nosal, Medical Officer of Health in the Halton Region of Ontario, an attendee at one of Peñalosa’s workshops. “Gil clearly understands this concept and gives a passionate, inspired presentation on the importance of community design to support active transportation.”
More details on Peñalosa’s visit will be available soon. In the meantime, the inspiring film is available from the World Community film library at Seeds Market in Cumberland.
For more information on the Comox Valley Cycling Coalition, visit http://cyclecv.squarespace.com.
Krista Kaptein wrote this Shifting Gears column. It appears every fourth week.