Jan Gehl
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Jan Gehl
Jan Gehl
Jan Gehl 2006.jpg
Jan Gehl in 2006
Born (1936-09-17) 17 September 1936 (age 84)
Alma materRoyal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture
PracticeGehl Architects

Jan Gehl Hon. FAIA (born 17 September 1936, Copenhagen) is a Danish architect and urban design consultant based in Copenhagen whose career has focused on improving the quality of urban life by re-orienting city design towards the pedestrian and cyclist. He is a founding partner of Gehl Architects.


Gehl received a Masters of Architecture from the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK) in Copenhagen in 1960, and practiced architecture from 1960 to 1966. In 1966 he received a research grant from KADK to study " the form and use of public spaces"; his book Life between Buildings (1971) reports his studies of public life in public spaces, and develops his theories about how city planning and architecture influence public life. He became a professor of urban planning at KADK, and a Visiting Professor around the world.[1] He co-founded Gehl Architects in 2000 with Helle Søholt, held a Partner position until 2011, and remains a Senior Advisor.[2]

As a "young architect working in the suburbs," Gehl married a psychologist and "had many discussions about why the human side of architecture was not more carefully looked after by the architects, landscape architects, and planners... My wife and I set out to study the borderland between sociology, psychology, architecture, and planning."[3]


Gehl Architects' project for Brighton New Road employing shared space, awarded the UK Civic Trust Award

Gehl first published his influential Life Between Buildings in Danish in 1971, with the first English translation published in 1987. Gehl advocates a sensible, straightforward approach to improving urban form: systematically documenting urban spaces, making gradual incremental improvements, then documenting them again. In 2012 the book is translated into a film by the same name, exhibited in a 24 meters curved room at the "New Nordic Architecture" exhibition Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and later at the Venice Biennale for Architecture. [4]

Gehl's book Public Spaces, Public Life describes how such incremental improvements have transformed Copenhagen from a car-dominated city to a pedestrian-oriented city over 40 years. Copenhagen's Strøget carfree zone, one of the longest pedestrian shopping areas in Europe, is primarily the result of Gehl's work.[]

Gehl participates in and advises many urban design and public projects around the world:

Gehl credits the "grandmother of humanistic planning" Jane Jacobs for drawing his attention to the importance of human scale. "Fifty years ago she said - go out there and see what works and what doesn't work, and learn from reality. Look out of your windows, spend time in the streets and squares and see how people actually use spaces, learn from that, and use it."[14]

Awards and distinctions

Selected publications

  • Gehl, J (1987) Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space, translated by Jo Koch, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. (ISBN 978-87-7407-360-4)
  • Gehl, J. and Gemzøe, L. (2000) New City Spaces, The Danish Architectural Press. Copenhagen. (ISBN 978-87-7407-293-5)
  • Gehl, J. and Gemzøe, L. (2004) Public Spaces, Public Life, Danish Architectural Press. (ISBN 978-87-7407-305-5)
  • Gehl, J. et al. (2006) New City Life, The Danish Architectural Press, Denmark. (ISBN 978-87-7407-365-9)
  • Gehl, J. (2010) Cities for People, Island Press. (ISBN 978-1597265737)
  • Gehl, J. and Svarre, B. (2013) How to Study Public Life, Island Press

See also


  1. ^ "Exhibition "Changing Mindsets" - Jan Gehl's Life of Work". Danish Cultural Institute. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "Jan Gehl". Gehl. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Paul Makovsky: Pedestrian Cities: An interview with Danish architect Jan Gehl on how public spaces work. in Metropolis Magazine August/September 2002, Retrieved 16 October 2010 Archived 4 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ http://www.lifebetweenbuildingsfilm.org. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "New York City DOT Releases World Class Streets Report, Calling for Enhanced Public and Pedestrian Space". New York City Department of Transportation. 2008-11-14. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Melbourne 'Places for People' Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ City of Perth - Public Spaces Public Life Archived 2009-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ City of Adelaide - Public Spaces and Public Life 2002 Archived 2007-09-12 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Sydney CBD Public Life and Public Spaces Survey
  10. ^ http://knowledgeauckland.org.nz/assets/publications/Auckland_Public_Life_Survey_2010_Part_1.pdf
  11. ^ "Gehl Architects report - Public Spaces and Public Life Study 2004". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 2015.
  12. ^ Gehl, Jan (2010). "Jan Gehl Public Space Public Life Study (Christchurch 2009, Public Space Public Life)". Christchurch City Council. Archived from the original on 27 February 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  13. ^ "Hobart - A City with People in Mind". Hobart City Council. Archived from the original on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Anderson-Oliver, M. (2013) "Cities for people: Jan Gehl", Assemble Papers, 13 June 2013
  15. ^ "Heriot-Watt University Honorary Graduates" (PDF). www1.hw.ac.uk. Retrieved .
  16. ^ AIA College of Fellows, Red Book Directory 2017 AIA College of Fellows History & Directory. 2017 Edition
  17. ^ "NYC Award presented to Jan Gehl". Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "King presents Prince Eugen Medal". Royal Court of Sweden. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ "C.F. Hansen Medaillen" (in Danish). Akademiraadet. Archived from the original on 2015-02-02. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ "Global Award for Sustainable Architecture". Cité de l'architecture & du patrimoine. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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