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Cities for People [Hardcover]

Jan Gehl , Lord Richard Rogers

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Book Description

Sept. 6 2010 159726573X 978-1597265737 1

For more than forty years Jan Gehl has helped to transform urban environments around the world based on his research into the ways people actually use—or could use—the spaces where they live and work. In this revolutionary book, Gehl presents his latest work creating (or recreating) cityscapes on a human scale. He clearly explains the methods and tools he uses to reconfigure unworkable cityscapes into the landscapes he believes they should be: cities for people.

 

Taking into account changing demographics and changing lifestyles, Gehl emphasizes four human issues that he sees as essential to successful city planning. He explains how to develop cities that are Lively, Safe, Sustainable, and Healthy. Focusing on these issues leads Gehl to think of even the largest city on a very small scale. For Gehl, the urban landscape must be considered through the five human senses and experienced at the speed of walking rather than at the speed of riding in a car or bus or train. This small-scale view, he argues, is too frequently neglected in contemporary projects.

 

In a final chapter, Gehl makes a plea for city planning on a human scale in the fast- growing cities of developing countries. A “Toolbox,” presenting key principles, overviews of methods, and keyword lists, concludes the book.

 

The book is extensively illustrated with over 700 photos and drawings of examples from Gehl’s work around the globe.


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Review

 “This book elaborates on many of Gehl’s seminal ideas, examines some of the world’s cities that have successfully improved over the last few decades, and states the challenges for the future. Many generations will lead happier lives and cities will be more competitive if their leaders heed his advice.”
(Enrique Pe�alosa former Mayor of Bogot�, Colombia 2010-04-13)

“Jan Gehl continues to astonish us with his insight into what really makes cities work. He has a global reach in this book based on work he has done in Europe, Australia, and America with comparative data on how pedestrians use public spaces. The deep appeal is how quickly he has been able to assist some cities in turning their traffic-riddled streets into havens for people.”
(Peter Newman Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University, Australia 2010-03-15)

“Jan Gehl’s new manifesto…Pages will be dog-eared, margins annotated… accessibly deployed framework of research and a logical, lucid framework for all the telling details and surprising data. The book organizes a set of observations that will strike some readers as obvious, others as radical, but practically all as convincing, revealing how deeply grounded Gehl''s system is in common sense. This kind of synthesis is no small task, and Gehl performs it with aplomb.”
(ArchNewsNow)

“If Cities for People is widely read and widely applied, the world’s urban life will be immeasurably better.”

(New Urban News)

“Jan Gehl is our greatest observer of urban quality and an indispensable philosopher of cities as solutions to the environmental and health crises that we face.  With over half the world’s population now in urban areas, the entire planet needs to learn the lessons he offers in Cities for People.”
(Janette Sadik-Khan Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation 2010-04-26)

About the Author

Jan Gehl is a founding partner of Gehl Architects—Urban Quality Consultants. He is the author of Life Between Buildings and Public Spaces, Public Life. He has received numerous awards for his work and is widely credited with creating and renewing urban spaces in cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Melbourne, New York City, London, and many others. 

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life Between Buildings V.2 Oct. 15 2010
By Vadim Litovchenko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Overall this is a great book, a great addition to anyone's architecture/planning library and also is also great for people who just getting into the field of planning.
The problem, however is the fact is that it is basically a repetition of everything what has already been said in another timeless book by Jan Gehl "Life Between Buildings". I am very fond of all the work produced by Jan Gehl, and in the end I do not regret buying this book, but it is disappointing to see how little afford was actually put into it. Even some of the pictures are directly taken from his other books. In the end, I want to give it a 5 star review, because it is nevertheless a great book, especially for anybody who is not familiar with other books by Jan Gehl, but I have to give a 3 star review, because it is really a sort new edition of Life Between Buildings. At the same time Life Between Buildings provides a far more detailed analysis about public spaces and its social dimension and is just way more engaging, and I would recommend buying it before Cities for People.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Change the Way You Think About Cities - [...] Sept. 27 2010
By TheUrbitect - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received the book fresh off the press, and the book was filled with fresh ideas about how we design our cities.

Gehl has been in the field of architecture and urban design for a long time now. Through "Cities for People" Gehl shares his knowledge and wisdom that he has acquired through out the years. As a student intending to be an architecture, reading this book completely changed what I thought being an architecture was about.

Who should read this book?

City Politicians - Read this book and better understand your citizens.

Architectures and Urban Planners - Obviously people in the design field should read it. I believe every student would greatly benefit, I know I did.

Citizens! - Yes, I believe citizens should read this book. For those that live in cities improve your voice in city policy by having an understand of how cities work at the human level, your level. For those that don't live in the city, it will make a well design city a place you desire to live.

Key Concepts

-The most prominent concept in the book is viewing the city through the human perspective. In the past several decades, since the automobile has dominated city life, architecture and urban spaces have been created for the fast pace of the automobile. Buildings are bigger, with less details. Urban spaces are far too large to be enjoyable. Gehl argues that urban planners and architects must begin to view design from a bottom up perspective, from instead of a top down perspective.

-Pictures-- Reading Gehl's book was an experience. I did not read the book from front to back. I continually flipped ahead to look at the wonderful pictures, to return back and re read a paragraph I just read. Without the pictures in the book, "Cities for People" would be a dull experience. However, there are many pictures used to emphasize certain points. Gehl could have thrown tons of numbers at you(which he does have plenty of statistical data), instead he shows you the difference between a car friendly street and a pedestrian friendly street. He shows how a long street with no windows or lights scares people away, compared to a street with open shops and outdoor cafes have an exuberant human interaction.

-Walking, Bicycling ,Staying and Meeting -- Most of the book focuses on getting more people walking and bicycling as means of transportation. Walking and Cycling can also lead to staying in urban spaces and meeting people.

Table of Contents (Chapter Titles)
1. The Human Dimension
2. Senses and Scale
3. The lively, safe, sustainable, and healthy city
4. The city at eye level
5. Life, space, buildings -- in that order
6. Developing cities

The only criticism I have with the book is that Gehl focuses entirely on out door space. Most of what he tells us should apply to indoors, but it would be nice if Gehl took his ideas into the buildings not just outside.

A Great Architect and another great book. Worth every page turn.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great pictures! Sept. 24 2011
By Clint Kuipers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I write this review from the perspective of a lay person. I'm not an architect or an urban planner - I am a real estate agent. So perhaps I'm best described as an interested observer.

However, I really like this book. I've read a few other urban planning books, and as some of the other reviewers suggest, this book doesn't necessarily break a ton of new ground. But the main reason I'm giving this book high marks is for the pictures. The pictures are outstanding. I'd estimate that roughly 40% of the book is pictures that are perfect examples of the illustrations written in the text. They really bring the words alive and give you pause to think about the cityscapes in your own experience.

You barely even need to read this book to feel its effects. Simply viewing the pictures and reading their captions could convey the author's complete sentiment. I found it to be very accessible - using very little specialized language or terms.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for people! March 2 2014
By Kathy Kam - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Over half the world lives in cities. We ask how can our urban environment adapt to our needs as human beings. Without tackling the big issues of poverty, inequality and human rights, Gehl provides examples based on his international experience of ways to design space and place that foster communication, mobility and community. The examples are inspiring and the author presents his projects in a way that makes them seem adaptable to a range of settings. The book is thought provoking and motivating.
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive approach about the relation between the human scale and the built environment Dec 4 2013
By Rene Ariza Cruz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in how to shape cities that take into account the human scale, this book is for you. The Foreword, the Preface, the Six Chapters, the Toolbox and even the Appendix, give the reader a comprehensive approach in relation to how to understand, to study and to shape the built environment from the standpoint of the people who inhabit it. A must read for architects, urban designers, urban planners and landscape architects (both students and professionals).
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