Monday, 12 January 2015

The quote of the week. Jan Gehl

And today a contemporary classic. Jan Gehl on walking

"The planning of long, straight pedestrian routes should be avoided. Winding or interrupted streets make pedestrian movement more interesting. Additionally, winding streets will be better than straight ones to reduce any wind disturbance."

Gehl, Jan,  Life between buildings, using public space,  Island Press, Washington, London, 2011 (Danish 1971) p141

Jan Gehl is an internationally well respected planner and was responsible for the transformation of Copenhagen into a walkable city. His work is very influential and has transcended national boundaries. In general I would agree with most of his observations, but this one written in 1971 seems not only romantic but limited. Yes, winding streets can be very interesting and it is very enjoyable to walk through a path that is continually changing. However this remark ignores the relevance of the great thoroughfares of 19th century grand plans, which accomodate diversity in the context of a long straight road. What about Champs Elyseés? Paseo de Gràcia? Avenida de Mayo? Unter den Linden?
More on Jan Gehl to come soon.

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