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Livable Lesson: Cities That Work for All Ages

Urban planning expert and livability champion Gil Penalosa explains how cities can become more equitable and sustainable — and in doing so contribute to longer, happier and healthier lives

Gil Penalosa and Grandson

Photo Courtesy of Gil Penalosa

Gil Penalosa and his grandson enjoy the Canadian winter in Toronto, Ontario's snow-covered High Park.

How can you tell if a city, or any community, is livable for all its residents?

More From and About Gil

Gil Penalosa on Stage

Photo Courtesy Gil Penalosa

Gil Penalosa on stage in 2017, presenting about one of his favorite topics.

Gil Penalosa is a long-time friend and frequent partner of AARP Livable Communities. After watching the video, learn more about and from Gil by following the links at the end of this page.

One big clue is whether an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old can each safely use and enjoy the community's outdoor spaces and public places.

As Gil Penalosa has been both asking and declaring for more than two decades: "What if everything we do in our cities was great for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old?

According to Penalosa, a city is truly great when people of all ages — not just healthy, fit 30-somethings — have the opportunity to walk or bicycle to their destinations and enjoy being outside.

Established in 2007, 8 80 Cities, is the Toronto-based not-for-profit organization Penalosa created to help cities worldwide "move from talking to doing" by developing accessible public parks, promoting walkable and bikeable streets, and fostering well-being, physical activity and equitable access to healthy places.

In the Livable Lesson video below, Penalosa guides viewers through these concepts and goals, providing examples of cities that have revived public parks, creatively reimagined its infrastructure and implemented Open Streets (where roads are closed to vehicles and opened to people).

Beginning with his experience as the parks commissioner of Bogota, Columbia, during the 1990s, Penalosa describes how towns and cities can serve the needs of all residents and do so in a sustainable way. 


Older People and Cities

The video on this page was created by an external organization so might not reflect AARP’s public policies or advocacy positions, which can be found in the AARP Policy Book.  

The videos were filmed in 2020 | Page published March 2021

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