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Jan Gehl

These Are Jan Gehl's Methods For Building Good Cities

08:00 - 6 October, 2017

We now know that first, we form the cities, but then the cities form us.

Meet 81-year-old Danish architect Jan Gehl who, for more than fifty years, has focused on improving the quality of urban life by helping people to “re-conquer the city.” Gehl has studied the relationship between life and form since the mid-1960s, when he started questioning the modernist approach of looking at the architectural model from above instead of from the inside. The architecture of that time was very often "an obsession with architecture for architecture’s sake," and took very little interest in the inhabitants.

Why Jan Gehl, the Champion of People-Oriented Cities, Doesn't Necessarily Dislike Skyscrapers

09:30 - 14 September, 2017
Why Jan Gehl, the Champion of People-Oriented Cities, Doesn't Necessarily Dislike Skyscrapers, © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gruban/288465746/'>Flickr user gruban</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
© Flickr user gruban licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "Jan Gehl on Why Tall Buildings Aren’t Necessarily Bad for Street Life."

Jan Gehl, the great Danish urbanist, has much in common with Jane Jacobs. For the better part of a half-century now, his focus has been on the development of people-oriented cities. The author of a number of books, including Life Between Buildings, Cities for People, Public Spaces—Public Life, and most recently, How to Study Public Life, Gehl and his colleagues have also served as consultants for the cities of Copenhagen, London, Melbourne, Sydney, New York and Moscow. Gehl Architects currently has offices in Copenhagen, New York and San Francisco. I spoke to Gehl about Jacobs, the folly of modernist city planning, and New York City’s durable urban form.

Jan Gehl: "The Modern Movement Put an End to the Human Scale"

08:00 - 21 July, 2017

On Thursday 29 of June, Jan Gehl the Danish architect and urban planner, spoke at the Conference “Thinking urban: cities for people” organised by UN-Habitat and the Official Architects College of Madrid (COAM as it is abbreviated in Spanish) about the urban transformations that have occurred in Copenhagen as a result of the errors of the modernist movement and the challenges facing the cities in the 21st century.

In a prior discussion with José María Ezquiaga (dean of COAM), and José Manuel Calvo (councilor of the Sustainable Development Area at the Madrid city council) at the Conference, Gehl highlighted the urban paradigm at the time of his student years, which is referred to as the Brasilia syndrome. 

Jan Gehl's 5 Rules for Designing Great Cities

08:00 - 16 December, 2016
Jan Gehl's 5 Rules for Designing Great Cities, Copenhagen, Denmark. Image © Flickr User: Forgemind ArchiMedia. License CC BY 2.0
Copenhagen, Denmark. Image © Flickr User: Forgemind ArchiMedia. License CC BY 2.0

Danish architect Jan Gehl is a world renowned expert in all things related to urban design and public spaces. He obtained this expertise by publishing numerous books, and later, from his consulting firm Gehl Architects that he founded in Copenhagen, his hometown, to make cities for people. The firm celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016.

Video: Jan Gehl on Modernism and the Social Sciences

08:00 - 6 November, 2016

The Danish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, curated by Boris Brorman Jensen and Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss, is dense with models – "a wunderkammer of architectural prototypes." The exhibition, which attempts to present new insights into how contemporary Danish architecture has been influenced by critics of Modernism (the "Modern approach"), features Jan Gehl—a famed Danish architect and urbanist renowned for his focus on improving the quality of urban life—as its standard bearer. In this exclusive film, shared by the curators, Gehl puts forward his position.

Jan Gehl: "Civic Culture Needs Cultivating and Curating"

16:35 - 11 September, 2015
Jan Gehl: "Civic Culture Needs Cultivating and Curating", © Flickr CC User MK Feeney
© Flickr CC User MK Feeney

Danish architect and urban planning expert Jan Gehl has weighed in on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's threat to remove Times Square as a"kneejerk reaction" to aggressive panhandling. Recounting beloved square's evolution, Gehl argues that public spaces need more than just to exist: "Civic culture needs cultivating and curating... Public spaces like Times Square are the great equalizer in cities: Improvements in the public realm benefit everyone. The city should view the challenge of Times Square’s pedestrian plaza not as a reason for retreat, but as a call to create a diverse, dense, intense experience of public life that we can all enjoy." Read Gehl's remarks, here.

Jan Gehl on the Global Need for Liveable Cities

09:30 - 13 August, 2015
Jan Gehl on the Global Need for Liveable Cities, Celebrated architect-planner Jan Gehl has worked with the Copenhagen city council to improve the Danish capital's pedestrian-and-cycle networks. Image © Flickr CC user Thomas Rousing
Celebrated architect-planner Jan Gehl has worked with the Copenhagen city council to improve the Danish capital's pedestrian-and-cycle networks. Image © Flickr CC user Thomas Rousing

As a founding partner of Gehl Architects and a consultant to cities such as Copenhagen, London and New York, Jan Gehl has been one of the most influential figures in the drive towards more liveable and healthier cities for over four decades. In this interview, first published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Jan Gehl on Making Cities Healthier and the Real Meaning of Architecture," Gehl discusses what makes a city healthy and why the need for healthy cities is a unifying worldwide phenomenon.

Mikki Brammer: You're often associated with the idea of making cities "healthier." What do you mean by the term?

Jan Gehl: I’m neither the first, nor the only one, to point out that in the past 50 years we have practiced city planning that invites people to be inactive in their lives. You can spend your entire life behind steering wheels, or computers, or on sofas, and in many cases you don’t have to move a muscle from morning to night. This, of course, has been identified as something that is very dangerous for mankind.

Jan Gehl: “Architects Know Very Little About People”

08:00 - 21 March, 2015
Jan Gehl: “Architects Know Very Little About People”, © Basile Bornand via Tages Woche
© Basile Bornand via Tages Woche

Danish urban planner and committed pedometer user Jan Gehl is an expert in creating “cities for people.” Following a recent talk he gave on sustainable cities in Basel, Gehl sat down with Tages Wocke to discuss what makes a city desirable and livable. “We found people’s behavior depends on what you invite them to do,” says Gehl. “The more streets you have, the more traffic you get. A more attractive public realm will be used by more people.” Read the full interview and see why Gehl thinks social and psychological sciences should be taught in architecture school, here

UBM Future Cities’ Interview with Jan Gehl Streams Live Tomorrow

00:00 - 13 August, 2013
UBM Future Cities’ Interview with Jan Gehl Streams Live Tomorrow

Renowned architect, urban design consultant, and founding partner of Gehl Architects, Jan Gehl will participate in a 30-minute audio interview on August 14 with UBM’s Future Cities. During the program, and in advance of his keynote at the upcoming Future of Cities Forum, Gehl will discuss building cities for people, the importance of public spaces that promote public life, and how to design cars out of our future cities. Listeners can stream the conversation live and directly ask Gehl questions via a live chat discussion here

Trailer: The Human Scale

00:00 - 27 June, 2013

Derived from 40 years of research by architect, professor and author Jan Gehl, The Human Scale takes a critical look at the way we build and use our cities. Assumptions about modernity are questioned, as director Andreas M. Dalsgaard urges the viewer to imagine what would happen when we put “people into the center of our equations”.

Video: Jan Gehl

10:00 - 4 May, 2012