Monday, March 15, 2010

Gehl Architects - talk on urban planning and climate

Recently on Spacing Montreal, they posted a video of a lecture given by Kristian S. Villadse. It is said that Louise Kielgast was present also, but this person is not in the video.


Here is a link to the video, or you can watch it right here:




The video lecture is a bit long, but I think you'll wish it was longer!



I found a few things interesting as I watched it.


 The first was how Montreal is considering many of the ideas and practices currently in place in Copenhagen, even though Montreal's winter is a bit 'harsher.' I would suggest that the regional climate of Toronto is much closer to Copenhagen's, perhaps even a bit nicer here. So, when people object to bike lanes, public spaces, etc. in Toronto, arguing that it's "too cold" here, it's worth remembering that Copenhagen's winter is very similar to Toronto's. And, if Montreal is putting in protected bike lanes, the winter climate shouldn't really be a concern - if they can do it, so can we!


During the lecture, it's interesting how many times variations of the word "invite" occur - inviting, invitation, invites, etc. I think this is key to the vision of Gehl Architects. Jan Gehl has spent the last 40 years putting people ahead of buildings. They start with 'life' and then consider the architecture/buildings.


It's also worth knowing that some of the images used in this lecture are the same images from Gehl's first book Life Between Buildings, first published in 1971 and this lecture tells us that it was a result of his PhD dissertation. Selections of the book can be viewed here. So, the essential ideas of Gehl have been in circulation for 40 years and it's still seen as radical and novel!


Enjoy the video, and if you feel inclined, leave a comment. I'm interested to hear suggestions on how Gehl's ideas could be implemented in Toronto.

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