Jan Gehl, Danish professor, architect, urban designer, and consultant spoke at McGill University on the topic of livable cities at a talk put together by Montreal’s Urban Ecology Centre. The inspiring talk focused on creating high quality urban public spaces by prioritizing people, specifically pedestrians and cyclists over cars in city centres. Drawing from his long career of experience in cities all over the world, including his home city of Copenhagen, in London, New York, Melbourne and others, Gehl illustrated how gradual, incremental improvements are central to creating people cities.
His ‘one stone, five bird’ policy seeks to prioritize people and thereby make cities more lively, more attractive, safer, more sustainable, and healthier. According to Gehl, the key, on the political side, is data, namely systematic documentation of urban spaces, gradual improvements, and documentation of results. This empowers decision-makers to move forward on policies to make cities ever-more people-friendly. On the side of public use and involvement, Gehl says the key is quality and to make spaces inviting, obvious, and irresistible for walking and cycling. Discussion of the talk on CKUT and the full lecture audio is available below.
The full introduction, lecture, and question period is posted here in the first audio player below. The discussion on CKUT’s Ecolibrium is available on the second player below and was broadcast on Tuesday, July 7, 2009.