Guillermo Bernal

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Great places need anchors; they need small areas that are full of activity and things to do. Places do not require a lot of plans, but actions.


Guillermo Bernal is the Global Program Director for PlacemakingX, with the responsibility of devising, overseeing, and enacting the organization's global outlook, strategy, and business development to support the larger placemaking capacity building and impact. His role entails creating and managing strategic partnerships, collaborations, and alliances with public, private, and third-sector organizations, as well as leading programs, fundraising initiatives, and research, innovation, and capacity-building activities for regional Placemaking networks across the globe. Additionally, he will provide guidance in developing PlacemakingX's global reach and promoting the growth of the movement.

Mexico City
Mexico City
Global Program Director
PlacemakingX Role(s)
Regional Leader
Transformative Agenda Focus
Sustainability & Resilience
Place Governance
Economic Development & Innovation
Equity & Inclusion
Public Markets & Food

Placemaking is...

a global transformation movement that seeks to save the planet by fostering democracy in beloved public spaces close to home.

First placemaking encounter

Favorite childhood place

Fun Fact


Guillermo graduated with great distinction from the Master in Urban Studies program 4 Cities—Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels), Universität Wien (Vienna), Københavns Universitet (Copenhagen), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Madrid), and Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Madrid)—in 2013.

In 2014, he founded Lugares Publicos, a Mexican nonprofit organization that offers participatory planning, workshops, and activation in public spaces. Two years later, he became a grantee from Project for Public Spaces (PPS) to implement their Heart of the Community Program in Mexico City. From 2017 to 2019, he was a fellow of PPS, during which time he gave numerous trainings in Latin America, the U.S., the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, China, Chile, and Colombia.

In 2018, Guillermo organized the second Placemaking Week Latin America, which saw 400 practitioners in public spaces gather in Mexico City to reflect and take action on how public spaces should be shaped in the region. Download the White Book from the Week here (Spanish)

The following year, he founded The Placemaking Mexico Foundation, with the aim of creating programs to support a network of Mexican organizations and movements to make public space with community design, resourcefulness and quick process. As Executive Director from 2019. Guillermo has supported 200 communities around Mexico. This includes 100 public spaces, donated by the Coca-Cola Foundation and its Mexican bottlers; 30 friendly places for early childhood, donated by the FEMSA Foundation; and 10 projects to help restaurants in Mexico City after the COVID pandemic, donated by American Express. Download Fundación Placemaking Mexico Annual Reports from here (Spanish).

In 2019, Guillermo joined the startup team for PlacemakingX and became part of the Board, in order to consolidate the network. He has been a keynote speaker in Latin America, North America, Europe, and India regarding the importance of taking an ecosystem approach to transforming public spaces with Placemaking. In 2023, Guillermo accepted a new position as Global Program Director of PlacemakingX. His challenge is to create worldwide programs that would support local communities, as well as the PlacemakingX Network. He also will coordinate the worldwide trainings on Placemaking, and organized the first Global Placemaking Summit (November 1st to 4th 2023).

Public space activation in Juarez, Mexico
Hammocks installation in La Paz, Mexico
Community Art, Iztapalapa, Mexico
Park construction in Monterrey, Mexico
Public space activation in Mexico City
Public space activation in Mexico City
Public space activation in Parque Mexico, Mexico City
Happy places in early childhood in Culliancan, Mexico
Public space infrastructure in Ayala, Mexico
Color court in Guyamas, Mexico
Plaza Marimba, Mexico City

Key messages

Test a broad range of programming ideas; some ideas will work some will not. The important part of Placemaking is the process, not the result. Creating a successful place is more about feeling than a technique, but be methodical and have principles.