summary of the day: Cities for people by Jan Gehl

Written by ArqBahia

ArqBahia team of authors.

I. About the book “Cities for people”

Cities for People is a book by Danish architect Jan Gehl, who is one of the greatest experts in urbanism and public spaces in the world. In this book, he presents his ideas on how to make cities more humane, sustainable and pleasant for the people who live in them. It is a fundamental work for anyone who wants to understand how cities can be designed to meet human needs.

II. Introduction

Gehl starts from the principle that cities must be planned to meet human needs for comfort, security, stimulation and coexistence. To achieve this, he proposes an approach that considers the human scale, that is, people's perception and behavior in urban space. According to him, the human scale has been neglected in recent decades, due to the predominance of automobiles and architecture modernist, which prioritized functionality and monumentality to the detriment of quality of life.

Announcement
archviz library

III. Human dimension of urbanism

Gehl argues that working on the human dimension of urbanism will lead to a healthier city, which will allow its inhabitants to perform physical activities daily, whether for commuting or for leisure. To do this, it is necessary to adopt some tools, such as analyzing what invites and what repels people. Examples of this are:

  1. Safety for pedestrians, for example, must be sought so that there is no reason to fear traffic.
  2. The movement of people must be guaranteed at all times of the day and night.
  3. The existence of shelter from sun, rain and wind helps people stay.
  4. Green areas alleviate high temperatures and pollution.
  5. Interesting facades, absence of obstacles, regular surfaces and accessibility are factors that invite people.
  6. Interesting facades and works and public places.
  7. Public furniture aimed at attractions.
  8. Views and landscapes that are not hidden.
  9. Low noise levels and furniture that invites people to interact.
  10. Public equipment for practicing sports and street activities.

IV. Planning principles

Gehl elaborates on some planning principles to create cities that are more inviting to people:

Carefully distribute city functions

The objective is to guarantee shorter distances between city functions, in addition to a critical mass of people and events.

Integrate various city functions

The objective is to guarantee versatility, richness of experiences, social sustainability and a sense of security.

Design urban space in an inviting way for pedestrians and cyclists

The objective is to create urban spaces that allow coexistence and interaction between people.

Open transition spaces between the city and buildings

The objective is to make life inside buildings and in urban spaces work together.

Reinforce invitations for longer stays in public space

The goal is to create urban spaces that invite people to stay longer.

V. Conclusion

O book “Cities for people” by Jan Gehl is a fundamental work for anyone who wants to understand how cities can be designed to meet human needs. The author proposes the creation of urban spaces that allow coexistence and interaction between people, as well as the adoption of tools that return the city to people.

The book is richly illustrated with photos, maps, graphs and drawings that exemplify Gehl's ideas. Furthermore, the book has clear and accessible language, which makes reading enjoyable and engaging. “Cities for people” is an indispensable book for architects and urban planners who want to contribute to making cities more humane, sustainable and democratic.

SAW. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about “Cities for People”

  1. Who is Jan Gehl and what is his approach to urbanism?
    A: Jan Gehl is a Danish architect and urban planner who developed a human needs-focused approach to urban planning.
  2. What are the main urban planning principles presented in the book?
    A: The main principles of urban planning presented in the book include the careful distribution of city functions to ensure shorter distances between them, the integration of multiple functions to ensure versatility and a sense of security, the design of urban space in a way that is inviting to pedestrians and cyclists, the opening of transition spaces between the city and buildings and the reinforcement of invitations for longer stays in public space.
  3. How does Jan Gehl's approach differ from other urban planning approaches?
    A: Jan Gehl's approach differs from other urban planning approaches because it places human needs at the center of planning, rather than just emphasizing efficiency or economy.
  4. How can the tools presented in the book be applied in practice?
    A: The tools presented in the book can be applied in practice through careful analysis of what invites and what repels people, ensuring safety for pedestrians, movement of people at all times of the day and night, existence of shelter from the sun , rain and wind, green areas, interesting facades, absence of obstacles, regular surfaces and accessibility, in addition to the presence of public equipment for practicing sports and street activities.
  5. How important is the book “Cities for People” today?
    A: The book “Cities for People” is important today because it presents an approach that values human needs in urban planning, at a time when many cities around the world are undergoing significant changes and facing challenges to become more livable and healthy for its inhabitants.

Leave a Reply