ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- Advising decision-makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone, regardless of age, gender, ability or social and ethnic background, Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all.
Penalosa is the founder and chair of the board of Canadian nonprofit 880 Cities as well as first Ambassador of World Urban Parks, the international representative body for the city parks, open space and recreation sector. Penalosa recently was a keynote speaker at the New Mexico Conference on Aging and also met with Mayor Keller during his visit to Albuquerque.
When asked how the city of Albuquerque could be improved, Penalosa explained that significance of walkability and stated sidewalks were vital as they connect the community.
“Many streets in Albuquerque do not have sidewalks. Others have the sidewalks, but they look like rollercoasters,” said Penalosa.
He also discussed the growing aging population in New Mexico stating that in the last 100 years, New Mexicans have doubled their life expectancy. He says that once we work on how we build cities, it is then possible to improve issues such as physical and mental health and even climate change.
State director of AARP New Mexico, Buffie Savedra explains that AARP works nationally to work with cities to have more of a community feel. She explains that sociability greatly affects the livability of a community.
“If we’re in parks and we’re having activities, usually lowers the crime rate. Vacant parks encourages crime,” said Savedra.
Savedra states that AARP is open to all ages and that the organization is open to sharing practical resources like job, health, and financial workshops as well as activities and events to build a stronger community.