Around 1960, modern mobility produced increased car traffic on our roads, giving rise to a radical paradigm shift in urban planning. In the light of these developments, Jan Gehl firmly believes that today, more than ever before, we must build cities for people. This issue is of such interest for the architect that he has made “planning for people” the topic of his lecture in Munich, his book Cities for People and indeed the basis of is daily work. He explains why taking people into account is so crucial for the quality of cities today, citing a rethinking process that has already taken place in cities such as Copenhagen, Melbourne, Sydney, New York and Moscow (where Gehl participated in urban planning projects): They follow a people-centred planning approach.
Jan Gehl is an architect, founding partner of Gehl Architects, and former Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. Over the course of his career, he has published several books, including Cities for People. He is an honorary fellow of RIBA, AIA, RAIC, and PIA. He has been awarded the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize for exemplary contributions to Town Planning by the largest international union of architects (Union Internationale des Architectes, UIA) as well as honorary doctoral degrees from universities in Edinburgh, Halifax and Toronto.
First life, then spaces, then buildings – the other way around never works.