Checking in with Jan Gehl
Ellie Violet Bramley's article provides background on the thinking behind the 40-year career of Jan Gehl in reclaiming cities and places for people, including a discussion of the public space/public life survey he uses to drive his team's data-driven approach.
These methods and principles, developed and refined since the 1960s, are “readily available to be used to make existing cities and new developments much better”. Members of Gehl’s Copenhagen firm, established in 2000 with one of his students, Helle Søholt, recite them like mantras: conversations are infected with enthusiasm and built around words such as “liveability”, “liveliness” and “density”.
Noting that Gehl believes that these principles can be applied unversially, Bramley goes on to elicit more details about how these principles have been applied in cities around the world in recent years—addressing Helsinki and London, among other cases. There's even discussion about how to manage the effects of gentrification, and the article relies heavily on conversation with Gehl's business partner Helle Søholt.