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Annual Report

2016 –17 Gehl — Copenhagen Vesterbrogade 24, 5th floor 1620 Copenhagen V Denmark Gehl — San Francisco 1211 Folsom Street, 4th Floor San Francisco CA 94103 USA Gehl — New York 137 2nd Avenue New York NY 10003 USA

Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

p4 Getting up in gear p8 Gehl highlights


Gehl Annual Report 2016—17


Photo by Kenneth Lu, San Francisco

Civic Center, San Francisco

Getting up in gear

In the fall of 2016 we embarked on a new three-year strategy – Gehl Effect. The overarching goal of the strategy is about making a greater impact and effecting change towards people-centered planning and design, while supporting a movement towards making the everyday life of all people flourish in more cities, towns, and communities. The ambition to get closer to our clients led us to internationalize our organization and set up two offices in the US, and to establish Gehl Institute in 2015. In this past year the focus has been on growing our presence in the American market (through more projects in Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina), as well as developing and evolving our working culture and collaboration processes across our three offices.

on updating ‘How to’ guides, provided officewide optimized working tools such as cameras, computers, screens, phones, a plotter and model making space in the Copenhagen office, and are working on upgrading the IT infrastructure in both the San Francisco and New York offices, via a new server, better network set-up and a new conference system. Alongside these efforts, our focus has been on business development via the expansion and development of our services. We are working to highlight our areas of expertise and the value we bring to our clients, all while remaining on projects for longer periods of time. There seems to be 4 main things that support both happiness, greater impact, as well as the impressive financial results we have achieved this year, across all teams:

This past year, under the headline – ‘getting up in gear’, we have invested in our shared tools/systems to enable more collaboration and sharing.

• When we work with our existing clients, successfully changing mindsets and leading visions, strategies, and plans towards implementation.

We have rolled-out Office 365, common calendars for keeping us all in synch, Skype for Business and Slack as connectivity tools, and have launched an internal file sharing system via Dropbox called the ‘Gehl Storefront’, as the final step of our IT strategy. We have had focus

• When we work globally with ambitious clients who share our ‘people first’ approach. • When we work on bigger and longer projects in a ‘team lead’ position.


Gehl Annual Report 2016—17


• When we collaborate across teams, utilizing everyone’s talent inside and outside of Gehl. These 4 guiding principles will lead us in the year to come. I was happy when I was able to welcome three new partners – Blaine Merker and John Bela from San Francisco and Matthew Lister from New York, who joined the Gehl Partner Group in August of this year. This step marked an important goal, celebrating how our US offices are moving steadily towards financial stability, based on a growing portfolio of exiting projects and key clients in the US, Canadian and Latin American markets. I would like to thank all our clients, including those who came to visit us in our three home offices. In the Copenhagen office we have welcomed many groups and individuals this past year. Special thanks go to Novo Nordisk – Cities Changing Diabetes for sponsoring a successful masterclass on urban planning and health in June, and to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for supporting a group of diverse experts from

the US exploring Copenhagen on how cities can support ‘Inclusive Healthy Places’ and to 8-80 Cities and Knight Foundation for sponsoring yet another group of Knight City leaders to come to Copenhagen for inspiration on public space design and mobility. Thanks also to Knight Foundation and collaborators at the City of Denver for making it possible to hold a convening in Denver for city leaders from medium sized US cities. Special thanks also goes to Gehl Institute and Executive Director Shin-pei Tsay for making the masterclass 'Public Life Matters' our most successful masterclass so far. Finally, a big thank you to everyone on the Gehl team. For your amazing contributions, for your collective achievements and increased impact related to all the exciting projects we have done this past year, as well as your ongoing dedication to making Gehl a great place to work. I wish you all a great holiday season and new year.


Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

Gehl highlights This short Annual Report 2016-17 can only include a few of the amazing and exciting projects we have engaged in over the past year. As we embarked on the Gehl Effect strategy last year we defined our Gehl services to be in 6 main fields of work.


Urban Strategy

Our urban strategy work began to take on different dimensions with impactful projects anchored in national governments, international organizations, and hyper-local community groups. At the National level, and in collaboration with the Chilean Ministry of Housing and Urbanism (MINVU) we developed a People-First guide to invest and measure the impact of public space investments across the country. We are now working with municipalities to translate these national guidelines to local conditions in Valparaiso as a test to scale up across a variety of other cities. In Dhaka we are working with the World Bank to deliver people-first analytics and rapid prototyping along the Buriganga River. The heavily polluted river and congested waterfront and ferry terminal can potentially be a vibrant and inviting public open space. Working at a much more local scale in collaboration with Kresge, Gehl Institute, and the Summit Foundation in Washington DC, we created a local public art framework to employ local artist and community talent to improve the public realm in some of the poorest neighborhoods in DC. The framework empowered local artists and citizens to create interventions relating to everyday activities like waiting for the bus, celebrating local talent in music and dance, and sharing local news. The impact of the small and temporary interventions is still being felt, making it easier for community groups to more effectively interact with the City planning and transportation departments to build long-term trust.

Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

With support from the Knight Foundation, we continued to work closely with the Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) to help make Downtown Akron a vibrant, livable place. Through public life measurements and simple public space prototyping, we learned that thousands of daily office workers, university students, and hospital goers visit, work, and study downtown, yet downtown Akron has very little public life and street activity to show for it. Over the next year, DAP and Gehl aim to invite people outside to participate in public life by implementing “The Link”, a 3/4 mile multi-faceted pilot project that will use design improvements and programming to better connect the University of Akron, The Children’s Hospital and Main Street. Finally, we have worked with Municipalities in Europe to provide strategic advice on the future improvements of city centres from a public space and public life perspective. This work include Bern where the focus was on how to provide a contemporary public space framework in a historic setting without losing the identity and character, as well as Sofia where we worked closely with the municipality and a local NGO Placemake to develop the thinking on how Sofia could be improved for active mobility and recreational purposes in the years to come. In Prague we developed an approach on how to gradually transform Magistrála, a major transport corridor, separating the old historic city centre from the neighbourhoods outside the core.



Washington DC


Masterplanning Frameworks

Our approach to Masterplanning is unique by having public life programing and the public realm at the core of the design process. We have worked on a large development project this year in Nordelta in Argentina, where Gehl has been the urban design lead and masterplanner for the central area of the district and helped to create the strategies to open-up the community which is presently gated. In Spelhaugen, Bergen we worked for a private developer Angarde at a site connected to the new light rail, making a masterplan for a mixed used development providing sustainable mobility solutions and high quality public spaces, as well as water management which is integrated into the landscape design. In Germany we are working on a new urban concept for an IKEA neighbourhood including IKEA stores, retail offers, homes and offices in Cologne.

Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

In Monterrey in Mexico, we have been working with the Universidad Regiomontana on a masterplan for their new campus and a new mixed-used development in Distrito PurisimaAlameda, a historic neighborhood that is slowly revitalizing after decades of neglect. The project intends to offer a reference for future development, showcasing a model of a dense and livable neighborhood that is grounded in the local context. We also continue to work with Wesgroup, one of western Canada’s largest private real estate companies, on the development of the River District a 140-acre former brownfield site along the Fraser River. We began our relationship with Wesgroup with an early activation project, and are currently working on a 30-acre phase 3 masterplan.



IKEA, Kรถln



People First Design

Building on our previous mobility and strategy work in Huangpu district, Shanghai, we were able to follow up with detailed Public Space Planning & Design for the Beijing Road area including detailed design for Taiwan Road alleyway and several surrounding streets and waterfront areas, transforming the recommendations and strategic thinking into good design practice for streets and public spaces in Shanghai. We have also helped design both physical pilot projects and a process around the implementation and evaluation of the projects for Haninge in south Stockholm. We are thrilled to continue our work with Related Companies, named one of the 50 most innovative companies of 2017 by Fast Company. In a shifting retail landscape where consumers are increasingly prioritizing experiences over transactions, Related Companies hired us to help them spearhead a people first, public life driven transformation of a 20 year old mixed-use project located in downtown West Palm Beach. Building on a Gehl led district wide data driven public space strategy, Gehl is now re-designing the key public plazas and streets within the project for permanent transformation by late 2018. We are developing an experimental framework to guide investment in a rich array of near term public art activations, pop-ups and pilot projects throughout the site. Site-wide physical transformation, comprehensive re-branding, innovative temporary activations, and exciting world class art installations are all part of this exciting effort to transform what was once a retail project into Rosemary Square, a vibrant cultural anchor in the middle of downtown West Palm Beach.

Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

Last year, we worked with Envision Downtown in Pittsburgh, PA to craft a Public Realm Action Plan based on a downtown-wide Public Space Public Life survey. This year, several pilots from the Action Plan were implemented. 'The Great Route', connecting Pittsburgh’s world-class Point State Park to downtown’s bustling Market Square, was piloted with new creative crossings and other elements. The Action Plan identified Liberty Avenue as a major opportunity for improving public life downtown. Gehl worked with Sam Schwartz Engineering and Transit Center to craft Life on Liberty; a Streetlife Plan for Liberty Avenue. Life on Liberty proposed a new layout for the street, re-organized congested bus stops, introduced a bus stop quality criteria, and a framework for streamlined decisionmaking and implementation - all within a framework that was piloted this Fall. We can’t wait to watch as the city’s new Department of Mobility and Infrastructure takes these recommendations forward. Finally, Gehl is also working on the re-design and re-imagining of San Francisco Civic Center public realm. It’s a once in a generation opportunity to rethink this important civic and public space and update the design, programing and stewardship for the 21st century. The project began with a large scale PSPL and continues with the development of public space concept design in collaboration with the Landscape Architecture group CMG.


Beijing Road

West Palm Beach

Public Life

Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

Earlier in the year we formed a partnership with Gehl Institute and the City of Copenhagen, San Francisco and Seattle, to develop an open source protocol for public life data. The protocol was launched in a beta version at the Public X Design convening in Philadelphia in October. Surveying public life and making people count by making them visible for decision makers in planning and design processes is at the core of what we do and how we think. This year we have successfully performed Public Space Public Life surveys (PSPL) in both Vancouver Canada, Nashville and Akron. In Vancouver the first phase of what is the largest PSPL in the Americas was recently completed. The project area consisted of the entire downtown peninsula and involved 270 volunteers and numerous city staff. The second phase of the project is a winter survey which will happen in early 2018, and the final phase of the project will be to create a series of strategic recommendations to inform the city’s Places for People strategy which is a 30year framework for public realm investment, acquisition and stewardship.


Public Life Data Protocol



People First Mobility

Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

In this past year, we have been working with Ford Motor Company’s research arm, Greenfield Labs, building a “National Street Service”. We have been privileged to challenge a major car maker towards valuing “streetsas-places” on par with “streets-for-mobility”. Gehl completed a rapid, 8-week pilot in San Francisco to test ideas about how to change mindsets around what the street is for. The project has gotten recognition from Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett, who comes from a design background, and has gained traction as a way for the company to think beyond the market of personal vehicles. At the heart of the project for Gehl is a chance to express our values, change mindsets deep within automobile culture and demonstrate the viability of an alternate future for a rapidly changing industry. In 2018 the team will expand the pilot to two American cities.

work with Fonds Kirchberg, Luxembourg, identifying demonstration projects that can assist in changing the mobility patterns. Finally, we are happy to have worked for WHO Europe “Towards Active Mobility in Cities” that focused on collecting great examples of projects that are focused at increasing Active Mobility in a wide range of European cities, as well as setting these into a wider context of why this is important underpinned by statistics stressing the need for action on this. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, we worked with the Inter-American Development Bank to help the local government ensure that the design of a new Rapid Bus Transit system will be seamlessly tied into the public space network of the historic city center. Gehl made recommendations on how to couple this new large infrastructural project, dubbed "Llajtabus" (the bus of the people), with extensive improvements of the bicycle network and the pedestrian realm.

Further we have worked on bicycling projects What makes a good transit hub in the Copenhagen context, specifically on bicycle parking. We have also/public continued space our Kiosk with bike share staff, if needed

Clear signage

General principle

Bike pump nearby station Easy access racks to cycle lane

Benches for resting





Solvejg develops this page for Monday - input is welcome

Good lighting



Continuous bikepath





E Q U I DA D Cochabamba

Active Engagement & Process Leadership

Gehl Annual Report 2016—17

In Almaty we are continuing our collaboration with the municipality and assisting them with internal capacity building as well as providing guidance on implementation projects that are the results of the urban strategy we did in 2015. We began our work with the City of Buenos Aires in February 2017, embarking on an ambitious process of making the entire municipal government more people-focused and more evidence driven. Working in close collaboration with the Secretary of Planning, Evaluation & Management Coordination, we devised a process to engage all departments of government in a co-creative process to deliver a 10 year actionplan to not only promote the next renaissance of Buenos Aires in Latin America, but also to help propel the City to a global leader position. The process engaged hundreds of city staff providing an opportunity to develop a common vision and working process across departmental silos and to coordinate and share knowledge.






Gehl Annual Report 2016—17


Gehl Annual Report 2016—17


Gehl Annual Report 2016-17  
Gehl Annual Report 2016-17