Gehl Annual Report 2018-19

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Annual Report



2 Enabling Change 6 Gehl Highlights 24 Financial Year in review 26 Communication Year in review 28 Looking towards 2020

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Enabling Change — 2030 Strategy and moving from ‘advocating for change’ to ‘making change’ locally and globally. The GetAway enabled us to shape a collective framework for our future path towards 2030, focused on three core pillars – 1. Continued internationalization, 2. Innovation & digitalization and 3. Partnerships enabling points 1 and 2.

As we look back on the past year, it has been a year of transition – starting new chapters and closing others!

This past year has been the first year with the Innovation Team in full operation. The team has successfully developed the Public Life Platform in beta-version, as well as explored and developed two new services connecting ‘food systems’ and ‘air quality’ to place. Both projects were very timely in relation to the C40 Mayors Summit in Copenhagen in October 2019, where two sub-networks of cities signed a Healthy Food Declaration, as well as a Clean Air Act. We are now looking forward to scaling these services with our partners.

We kicked off the year by gathering the entire Gehl organization in Copenhagen for a 3 day GetAway in October 2018. Over the course of three days, we re-visited and co-created the purpose of Gehl and discussed various themes of equal importance to the world, to people, and to us as an organization. For the past two decades, we have been advocating for a change of paradigm in planning. That shift is now happening. We are changing gear

Various people took on new leadership positions. Partner Matthew Lister as Managing Director in our New York office, in collaboration with Associate Julia Day as Team Lead. In Copenhagen Director Ola Gustafsson took over our urban design team and Director Birgitte Bundesen Svarre joined the Management Team as leader of our urban strategy team. With our Management Team now in place, as well as Project Directors set-


Left page: Photo of Helle Søholt by Anna Palmehag

David Sim with the Soft City book


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

up in all three offices, we are ready for the next stage in development.

able to publish this new book with Island Press, and I especially want to thank two people who have been instrumental in the completion and success of this work – Partner, Creative Director and now author David Sim and Director and Team Lead Birgitte Bundesen Svarre as Project Manager and co-editor.

During the year, the Board of Directors of Gehl Institute decided to wind down the organization to achieve more clarity of brand and services in the US market. We spun-off Gehl Institute 4 years ago, and the board Chair Kimberly Driggins helped us realize that the separation to Gehl was causing more confusion than possibilities to scale. It has however been 4 years of inspiring exploration in the fields of open data, research and capacity building, all off which we are now continuing in new ways as an integrated part of the Gehl practice. We remain hugely grateful and thankful to both the board and to the foundations that supported Gehl Institute in the development of important new knowledge and networks. A special thanks goes to the team who committed to the public life agenda and to Shin-pei Tsay who led the organization for 2 and a half years as Executive Director.

A big thank you to everyone at Gehl. Thanks to all of you for your contributions this past financial year and for your collective achievements and increased impact. We have welcomed new Gehl people, but also had to say goodbye to others. Our memories go especially to Ulrik Nielsen to whom we said a final goodbye this summer as he passed away after almost two years of battling illness. Finally, I would like to thank all our clients and collaborators, extending a special thanks to Bernard van Leer Foundation, Eat Foundation and Novo Nordisk – Cities Changing Diabetes for sponsoring our work around foodscape and air pollution.

Another important development this past year, was publishing ‘Soft City’. This thought leadership piece was made possible with the generous support of the philanthropic association Realdania. We were happy to be


Gehl Highlights

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Turning a road into a park in Copenhagen. Working to develop a vision for a green park which will deliver on Copenhagen’s carbon neutral targets for 2025.

Developing a framework plan for a brownfield site at the foot of the mountains in Santiago de Chile. Delivering a masterplan that consists of 8 distinct mixed-use neighbourhoods, generous public spaces with streets, squares and parks, as well as a metropolitan destination mountainside park.

Shifting an industrial heritage site into an integrated mixed neighbourhood in NĂźrnberg. Developing a masterplan which continues the successful transformation from a former white goods factory, into a cultural and educational based neighbourhood.

Guiding the redesign of 16th Street Mall with a vision for public life in Denver. Developing guidelines for what the aspirational public life and public space character should be, as the City prepares for the full redesign of the street.


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Transforming an old industrial site into a vibrant, mixed, new neighbourhood in Aarhus. Working on an urban development project in Denmark whose guiding principles for the development of the site are sustainability and communities.

Revitalizing a district in Kirchberg, Luxembourg. Creating a people first vision for a district, through a densification plan as well as a pedestrian, bicycling and parking strategy. We have worked for the past four years to fundamentally rethink the planning process and city development.

Helping to define design excellence for a region. Continuing our work on the Design Excellence Framework, a tool to help the Walton Family Foundation prioritize, guide, and document impact of investments in the public realm across Northwest Arkansas.

Redesigning Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Working with Rios Clementi Hale Studios to create new spaces to gather and play, improve flow and circulation, and increase engagement with retail storefronts.


Gehl Highlights

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Creating equitable innovation in Chattanooga. Developing a people-first innovation strategy and district public realm framework to enable everyday participation in city life.

Investigating air quality for the city’s youngest residents through Thrive Zones in Copenhagen. Using urban design as a tool to reduce the negative impact of air pollution in neighborhoods. A collaboration with Google Environmental Insights and the City of Copenhagen with support from Bernard van Leer Foundation.

A new vision for Stanford’s Town Center. Defining a vision for the Town Center as an expression of Stanford’s intellectual vitality, the heart of culture and engagement on campus and a place for vibrant daily life.

Expanding micro-mobility access in low-income communities. Leading an interdisciplinary team in an ethnographic study and prototyping process to increase access to shared e-scooters in low-income communities nationwide.


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Connecting communities with the help of a New Linear Park in La Paz. Developing the concept design for a linear park in La Paz, Boliva, where a bicycle corridor will be developed along a former train line, connecting communities and creating a greenway for recreation and sustainable transportation across the city.

Developing a set of Street Design Guidelines for Melbourne. Working alongside ARUP, the new set of Street Design Guidelines for the State of Victoria will focus on the role of both movement and place in street design, re-thinking how streets are and will be used.

Rethinking retail spaces in Chicago. Developing concept designs and a phasing strategy for public space, facade, and building edge activation, for a retail center aiming to reposition itself as part of the street network and neighborhood.

Transforming parking space into recreational space, Grønningen/Esplanaden in Copenhagen. Activating the ground floor spaces from closed office to open commercial functions, by transforming the exterior space into a recreational space with cafe and public seating, as well as landscape design.


Gehl Highlights

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Exploring how Copenhagen neighborhoods can shift dietary behavior through urban design. To enable a more ambitious food system with measurable benefits to climate, environment, public health, and societal well-being, we are investigating how the design of cities and communities can shift urban citizens’ diets. A collaboration with EAT Foundation and City of Copenhagen for a Climate-KIC project.

Leading Collaborative Cities together with IDEO CoLab in Cambridge and San Francisco. Prototyping solutions to create more livable, sustainable and inclusive cities together with innovation teams from energy companies and mobility providers, alongside city officials and citizen advocacy groups.

Launching Soft City, the latest Gehl book by Creative Director David Sim from Copenhagen. An antidote to the increasing complexity of urban life, Soft City is the story of how to build denser and more diverse places that enhance the everyday life of people.

Improving the Suzhou Riverfront to create a more livable city in Shanghai. Developing Suzhou Creek, Shanghai’s “local backyard”, into an even more attractive local destination in the heart of the city.


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Showcasing the connection between the built environment and childhood obesity in South London. A novel approach to identifying food consumption behavior patterns for teens and adolescents, to shape the urban foodscape to encourage a healthier everyday life. A collaboration with the Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity and the Borough of Southwark in South London.

Developing a strategic framework for future change in Nyborg. Ensuring a robust development in Nyborg through a strategic urban plan.

Celebrating neighborhood identity with North Rosemary concept design and pilot projects in West Palm Beach. Shaping a vision and concept design for a historic avenue seeing an influx of public and private investment.



Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Huechuraba Masterplanning Framework. Light and shade on a plaza. Credit: Lucian Racovitan � Huechuraba Masterplanning Framework.


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

North Rosemary Avenue, West Palm Beach, USA

→ Micro mobility project, San Francisco, USA

Walton Family Foundation, Arkansas, USA


Chattanooga Public Realm Action Plan ← Nürnberg, Masterplan. Credit: Lucian Racovitan

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

↑ Strategic urban development plan for Nyborg, Denmark

← Food Systems project, Croydon and Peckham, London, UK.


← Trælasten, Aarhus, Denmark

↑ Thrive Zones, Istedgade, Copenhagen, Denmark

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Suzhou Creek, Shanghai. Illustrations. ← Human dimension in mobility. Illustration from the Soft City book.


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Proposed city park outside Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark. Credit: Lucian Racovitan


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Financial year in review Across the Gehl Group, our revenue has stabilized at 60 mill DKK. We have invested in our future, primarily in the areas of organization and leadership, innovation and digitalization, along with an important piece of thought leadership with the ‘Soft City’ publication.

Our work with public sector clients including municipalities accounts for 31% of our work, work with developers and private corporations accounts for 53% and finally our work with foundations and international organizations accounts for 9%, which shows how we are successfully applying our ‘people-first’ approach across sectors towards our overall mission of ‘Making Cities for People’.

Approximately 62% of our work is in markets close to us (US and Scandinavia). 38% of our work is in markets where we experience a growing demand for our services such as Northern and Eastern Europe, Canada and Latin America, as well as in Asia and Australia.


Gehl Group Revenue per market Markets with growing demands 38%

Markets close to us 62%

Gehl Group Revenue per client type

Other 7%

Public Sector / Municipalities 31%

Foundations / International organizations 9%

Developers /Private Corporations 53%

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

During the fall the Culture & Communication team was engaged in designing a temporary exhibition for the Lille project, which will be remounted in the spring of 2020. Photo credits: Above: Sebastien Jarry. Left: Jonathan Alexandre


Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Communication year in review Two and a half years ago we implemented a Social Media Strategy in collaboration with Untold, our social media consultant. This past year we have grown our Culture & Communication team with more skilled people, specializing in communication design and strategy.


Since the strategy was created, we have been focused on growing our online community and bringing an even wider breadth of content to our followers. These efforts have paid off. This fall we celebrated as we surpassed 100.000 followers on our combined social media channels. On our website we continue sharing live updates from projects and our stories of positive change through the Gehl LIVE section, which includes our blog, projects and news updates. Thank you to our online community for continuing to share comments and engaging in our content both on our social media channels, as well as on our website.


in 2020

Gehl Annual Report 2018—19

Looking towards 2020

We have now embarked on our new financial year, October 2019 – September 2020, and every team is buzzing with exciting projects and inspiring challenges, from public space projects to delivering low carbon mobility networks, to engaging in the development of sustainable and circular new developments and university campuses, to retrofitting and developing existing urban areas globally.

We are also looking forward to a very special celebration on the first of May in 2020, when we will be celebrating our 20-year anniversary. We look forward to cheering with every client who wishes to join us in Copenhagen for this joyous event, which will both be thankful for the past and looking forward to the continued collaboration in the future.

Based on our current pipeline for the coming year, we plan a steady growth in 2020 across our three offices. In the US teams we are focused primarily on our work in the US, Canada and Mexico. In Copenhagen we are focused on our increasing portfolio of work in the German speaking region of Northern Europe, in China with our local partners Energy Foundation and China Sustainable Transportation Centre and in Australia, where we have now worked for more than 15 years and keep expanding our ecosystem of clients and collaborators.

The one thing that I have learnt through these past 20 years of leading Gehl, is how everything important is about people and relationships, and I look forward to celebrating exactly that with you throughout the next year. Positive change, development and creation of knowledge and places, all of it with passion and love, only occurs if people are truly inspired by working together and generously sharing that with everyone. I wish you all a great holiday season and look forward to a new anniversary year for Gehl in 2020. Best wishes and thank you, Helle

29 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 395 Hudson St, 8th floor New York NY 10014 USA