Ecosistema Urbano’s Networked Urbanism studio and Gehl Architects invite you to an exclusive preview of director Andreas Dalsgaard’s documentary The Human Scale, inspired by Jan Gehl and the work of Gehl Architects’ many years of working with urban planning in a Danish and international context. Jeff Risom, Head of Gehl Institute, will give a short presentation about People First Design before the preview of the film, which will be followed by a discussion.
Andreas Dalsgaard documentary: The Human Scale
How do we measure what really counts?
In the 20th century the struggle to provide large numbers of people with proper housing, work spaces and transport led the modernists to create gigantic systems of high-rise buildings, industrial estates and high ways. We plan our cities as a machine for living and working, where we are forced to drive a car everywhere in between. We use statistics, master plans and rational calculations of traffic flows and profit maximization. The material gains are evident. But so are the costs. Today we face oil crises, climate change and severe health issues as a result of our modern lifestyle. THE HUMAN SCALE questions our assumptions about modernity,, exploring what happens when we put people into the center of our equations.
For 40 years the Danish architect Jan Gehl has systematically studied human behavior in cities. His starting point was an interest in people, more than buildings – in what he called Life Between Buildings. What made it exist? When was it destroyed? How could it be brought back? This lead to studies of how human beings use the streets, how they walk, see, rest, meet, interact, etc. Jan Gehl also uses statistics, but the questions he asks are different. For instance: How many people pass this street throughout a 24-hour period? What percent of those are pedestrians? How many are driving cars or bikes? How much of the street space are the various groups allowed to use? Is this street performing well for all its users?
Jan Gehl made his first studies in Italy and later he inspired the planning of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, for 40 years. His ideas inspired the creation of walking streets, the building and improvements of bike paths and the reorganization of parks, squares and other public spaces throughout this city and in many other cities in the Nordic region. Around the world cities like Melbourne, Dhaka, New York, Chongqing and Christchurch are now also being inspired by Gehl’s work and by the developments in Copenhagen.
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