pikes-peak-avenueIt’s back!

Last year’s City Center Series, presented by the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, was such a success, it’s returning this month and will run through April.

Gil Penalosa will kick off the series Jan. 24 at the Richard F. Celeste Theater, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center at Colorado College, 825 N. Cascade Ave. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 6 p.m.

Penalosa is the founder of the internationally recognized nonprofit organization 8 80 Cities, based in Canada. The organization incorporates a simple philosophy — creating a great city for an 8 year old and an 80 year old will mean a successful city for all people. In his keynote, Gill will advise residents, students and leaders on how to create a vibrant city and a healthy community for everyone regardless of age, gender and social, economic or ethnic background. He will focus on the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, using public transit and the new use of cars.

“Our kickoff event is a real coup for Colorado Springs. Gil Penalosa is an internationally-sought-after speaker on urban design, and he brings such a wealth of experience from his time as parks administrator for the city of Bogota, Colombia and his later work as founder of the nonprofit 8 80 Cities,” said Claire Swinford, urban engagement manager with the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs. “He illustrates so clearly how textbook concepts of urbanism ultimately impact crucial social values like health and wellness, accessibility and inclusiveness for everyone regardless of age, gender and social, economic, or ethnic background. His message is all about vibrancy and sustainable growth, which is coming at a perfect time for Colorado Springs.”

Swinford said last year’s series was well-received.

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“Following Jeff Speck’s walkable-city talk, it was heartening to see everyday people begin to really latch on to some of the principles of urbanism — it’s not just for city planners anymore! We’ve heard community members starting to reflect Speck’s idea that modernizing and redesigning city streets for multiple kinds of users makes neighborhoods safer and friendlier for everyone, and we have high hopes that that’s going to continue to bear fruit as we swing into construction season again,” she said. “Also, out of Peter Kageyama’s ‘For the Love of Colorado Springs’ talk, we’ve seen citizens start to rethink how we use our public spaces. There are some very exciting ideas bubbling up from the community surrounding Acacia Park, so we’ll start to see some of those plans come to life this summer.”

Tickets are $10 per event, or a series pass can be purchased for $30. Additional topics of this year’s series include a New Urbanism Film Festival, Feb. 27; 
Placemaking and Public Art, March 7; and the 
The RiNo Story (River North community in Denver), April 4.

Last year’s series explored the revitalization of Las Vegas’ Fremont North district, walkability and community development. More information about this year’s City Center Series is available from the partnership.