Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jan Gehl (1936 - ) is an Danish architect and urban design consultant based in Copenhagen and whose career has focused on improving the quality of pedestrian urban life.
Gehl took a Masters of Architecture from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1960, and practiced architecture from 1960 to 1966. In 1966 he received a research grant from that institution for "studies of the form and use of public spaces," and has since been a lecturer and professor there, and a Visiting Professor in Canada, the US, Mexico, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Norway. Founding partner of Gehl Architects – Urban Quality Consultants.
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."
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 measuring urban spaces, making gradual incremental improvements, then measuring again.
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, the longest pedestrian shopping area in the world, is primarily the result of Gehl's work.
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