Architect and urban designer Jan Gehl has dedicated a significant proportion of his career to making cities better places for people by studying public spaces and their impact on civic society.
As a Professor of Urban Design in the School of Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, he has taught and consulted on the subject internationally for some 50 years teaching and working in Edinburgh, Toronto, Melbourne, London and New York.
Gehl's consultancy, based in the heart of Copenhagen, is, like the man himself, a friendly and welcoming place. Crane.tv met Gehl there to discuss the importance of urban design in for modern society.
Gehl comments on the rapid expansion of cities, particularly over the last 50 years, where there was little to no concern for the inhabitants. He talks about the moment when people looked back and realized they had forgot about the people.
An ideal setting for a discussion on improving the livability of cities, Copenhagen has become a city others strive towards -- and Gehl has arguably played a crucial role in city's transformation into a city for people. He is often asked by other planners and city officials to help "Copenhagen-ize" their cities. One particular success story can be found in New York City, where Gehl says improvement measures were introduced at a rate that was "entirely American."
His most recent and perhaps challenging project will take him to Moscow where he comments, "freedom from communism is the right to park wherever you like."
Text by Fiona Sinclair Scott for Crane.tv
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