Gehl Services / Public Life booklet

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#1 of 6 services

Public Life


Gehl is an urban design practice focused on 'Making Cities for People’. With the Public Life service, we help our clients to understand and measure how public space is performing for people, and develop actions for how to improve it.

The Public Life service puts people first. People create 'public life' when they connect with each other in public spaces – streets, plazas, parks and city spaces between buildings. Public life is about the everyday activities that people take part in when they spend time with each other outside of their homes, workplaces and cars.

The Public Life service will: 1. Measure, map, and help you improve the performance of public life. Our methodology and approach will show you how public life is performing and how the public realm is serving its residents. This is evidence based advice for change.

2. Provide an intelligent service for people. You can make more qualified decisions, identify challenges and develop strategies that are based on people data and in-depth knowledge of people's uses and experiences.

3. Offer you new opportunities for improving public life. By understanding the public life around you and how it develops, you can start to measure the impact that current and future investments have on people’s quality of life.

Our 6 services use a people-first approach. Gehl is an urban design consultancy offering expertise in the fields of urban design, landscape architecture, and city planning. We apply a people-first approach, utilizing empirical analysis, strategic planning and human-centered design, to empower citizens, decision makers, company leaders and organizations to create a better everyday life for all people.

Public Life Putting people first by studying, surveying, engaging and understanding public life.

Public Life

Masterplanning Frameworks Masterplanning Frameworks Valuing co-creation, the human scale, mixed neighborhoods, public spaces, and integrated mobility through the creation of masterplanning frameworks.

Urban strategy Urban Strategy Making urban strategies that help in the transition towards a more liveable city.

People Mobility PeopleFirst First Mobility Looking at people first mobility not just as the journey, but as a route towards a balanced mobility that accommodates all user groups.

People First Design

People First Design Designing attractive, diverse and networked public spaces with a relationship to the wider urban context that are driven by public life and people first design.

Process Leadership Process Leadership Bringing the outside perspective needed to facilitate process leadership through creative and facilitative processes with clients in leadership positions.

Our 'People First' approach helps people create positive, vibrant and relevant spaces in cities.

As social scientists we investigate life through the analysis of public life.

As designers we study the quality of the built environment.

A Public Life Journey 1.

Product Public Life Diversity Assessment

Frame the ‘public life’ challenge. Develop site specific indicators that are both quantitative and qualitative.

Collecting public life data and knowledge: కక కక కక కక

Census data collection Movement observations - are people walking, bicycling, using public transport? User groups observations who is present? Age, gender, income, ethnicity Behavioral observation - Activities and social connections

Product Public Life Framework కక కక కక కక కక కక

Identifying the main local challenges and potentials Developing the local public life indicators Setting the goals and visions Benchmarking the current situation Identifying and engaging stakeholders, local collaborators and key drivers Anchoring the workplan and process

2. Measure & observe public life. Observe people in their free time and as part of their everyday routine — meeting, moving and arriving in different built environments.

3. Engage with people at eye-level. Meet people where they are and ask people questions they are experts in.

Product Public Life Action Plan కక కక కక కక కక కక కక

Data analysis – conclusions and recommendations Public Life plans Communication and outreach International comparisons – public life database Public Life implementation strategies Preventive care/public risk assessment Tool box and best practice

Product User Needs Assessment కక కక కక కక కక

Intercept surveys – what are people’s needs and attitudes Capacity building – workshops and engagement with community and stakeholders Focus group interviews Social media analysis Favorite places analysis

4. Plan & take action. Make a roadmap to prioritize actions that can inform long-term strategy and investments improving public life.

Public Life projects Gehl has worked in over 250 cities around the world. Our services span across all scales, from strategic visions to design and implementation. Our clients range from mayors, city administrators, NGO’s, developers, private and public organizations.

Gehl projects

Transforming 16th St. Mall into a destination Denver’s 16th Street Mall is a mile-long main street and transit corridor in the city’s historic downtown core. It has regressed into a place needing constant maintenance and repairs, with safety concerns and an under-performing retail environment. These are symptoms of a street viewed as a moving corridor with 28,000 people passing through daily on foot, and another 55,000 on the Free Mall Shuttle, but only 1% of them stop to spend time. Since 2014, Gehl has been working for the City and County of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership to create an actionable solution for this street. Products Engagement Gehl mediated the competing interests of the transit operator (RTD) and other stakeholders by thoroughly investigating and creating a new narrative of everyday life on the Mall. This shared point of view was strengthened through temporary pilots promoting a common vision through shared experience. Temporary Pilots The temporary pilots allowed the Downtown Denver Partnership to begin a program to bring more people downtown on the weekends and celebrate the Mall as a meeting place.

Temporary pilots Public Life Diversity Assessment Gehl conducted a comparative study of how people navigate and spend time on the street to document everyday potential of the street based on these special activities. In collaboration with the City and the Partnership, Gehl measured public life, surveyed general sentiment, documented mobility patterns and monitored retail sales.


The City and County of Denver and the Downtown Denver Partnership hired Gehl for an ongoing evaluation of the MITS events from 2014-2016. Gehl’s evaluation of the events asked how people are using the street compared to a typical day? What activities make people want to stay longer? And who is spending time at the Mall? The findings showed that Denver’s decision-makers could make their goal a reality by reimagining the downtown experience through the ‘Meet in the Street’ events.


Based on the report published by Gehl in 2015, Denver extended ‘Meet in the Street’ to be held over five weekends with more events which ran to 2017. Gehl assisted in running the prototyping festival and measuring the impacts of the festival on both the Mall as well as the activated cross streets of 16th Street. Today the DDP are creating public space upgrades and installations.


These initiatives propelled a productive environmental review process that Gehl is still advising. This process will unlock over $100 million combined between TIF (Tax incremental Financing) funding and City and RTD investments. With the pressure to utilize this once in a generation investment, the temporary projects inform an ambitious shared vision with a sense of security that the large investment will be exposed to less risk and a greater likelihood of becoming a transformative project for all of Downtown.


The main vision for 16th Street in Downtown Denver




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From a space between other places with 16th Street as a thoroughfare ...


Staying Activity at Central Market at 4:00 pm

During the Market Street Prototyping Festival

Normal day Secondary Seating Standing

Secondary Seating Standing

Waiting for transport Bench Seating


Bench Seating


Waiting for transport

Cultural Activity Physical activity

... to a heart at the center of the city with 16th Street as the spine.

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Staying Activity at Central Market at 4:00 pm During the Market Street Prototyping Festival

Normal day Secondary Seating Standing

Waiting for

Secondary Seating Standing Bench Seating

Denver 16th Street Mall


Denver 16th Street Mall

After Photo: Mark Englert

Gehl projects

Making places for bringing people together in Lexington SplashJAM — Lexington is a creative capital with anticipated growth and a unique influence from the univer​sities. Development in Lexington is happening fast and potential for a thriving public life is there. It is an important moment for the city to understand how Lexingtonians' priorities can pave the way for the city’s transformation. To leverage this time of growth, the Lexington Downtown Development Authority hired Gehl in 2015, to conduct city-wide assessment of the public realm. Gehl conducted a far-reaching PSPL (Public Space and Public Life) Survey of the city to observe and measure life downtown, and ultimately to indicate how the city might invest in new infrastructure projects. The PSPL allowed us to better understand what life is like for Lexingtonians and how the city can lead their transformation.


Through the survey, we identified needs for the city as well as what was already happening. We saw that local children were often found playing in a water fountain in Thoroughbred Park. Rather than restricting this otherwise unlawful behavior, Gehl worked with stakeholders to identify the demand for water-play and locate a site for play during the sweltering summer months. A site was identified that intersects four neighborhoods of differing socioeconomic demographics and presented an opportunity to test water-play as a catalyst for social mixing between disparate groups.


Based on the demand for water-play places in the neighborhood, in 2016 the Bluegrass Community Foundation and Gehl Institute contracted a process to create a splash pad pilot project with Gehl and the DDA, in the same neighborhood where the initial play was happening. The project became SplashJAM, and included pedestrian safety improvements, park amenities, and an interactive temporary splash pad. SplashJAM addressed the local need for water-play and the connection of the surrounding neighborhoods by making a real place of activity. Gehl’s second PSPL survey of SplashJAM showed that creating a place to play was a catalyst to bringing people together from the different neighborhoods.

Products Public Life Diversity Assessment Through the PSPL we were able to gather observational data on what activities and social behaviors are taking place throughout Lexington. These findings resulted in the site identification for the prototype. User Needs Assessment Based on the survey findings, Gehl created a design brief for local designers to create the playful prototype, followed by technical assistance on the implementation process. Public Life Action Plan Gehl conducted an additional Public Life Diversity Assessment paired with communication outreach and community training sessions, allowing locals to survey other city projects in the future.

Gehl projects

Creating Living Innovation Zones on Market Street What should a street be used for? For kids or cars? Or as a place where music performances can thrive next to bike lanes and food shops? We discovered the answer through an evaluation of the San Francisco Prototyping Festival in 2015. Gehl’s collaboration with the City of San Francisco began in 2010 by leading the urban design component of the redesign of Market Street, the transit and civic spine of the city, which became a multi-year process under a strategy called 'Better Market Street'. The plan introduced many strategies including ‘Living Innovation Zones’ along Market Street zones identified by citizen groups and local organizations as areas for public life. The 'Market Street Prototyping Festival' in 2015 was one specific outcome to test how the Living Innovation Zones could impact public life. Gehl evaluated this new and innovative festival and discovered how it drove transformation on Market Street. Product

Public Life Diversity Assessment Gehl used a Public Life Diversity Assessment throughout the course of this prototyping project which informed the location and selection of prototype success criteria.

User Needs Assessment Interviews and presentations were given to frame the event within a broader context and to evaluate the festival.

Reports 'Better Market Street' & ‘Makers on Market’

← The Summit Foundation, The Knight Foundation, and the Seed Fund, funded the evaluation of the 'Market Street Prototyping Festival'. Building upon our Living Inno­v ation Zone guide­lines, we advised on the success criteria to select prototypes, the location, and parti­cipated in the festival with a series of presen­ tations aimed to frame this

short event in a broader context. Leveraging funding from foundations, the event featured 50 citizen-created projects all made possible not only through unprece­ dented collaboration between numerous city agencies, but also through a combination of public, private, and crowd-sourced funding.

← Living Innovation Zone As a result of 'Better Market Street', San Francisco’s Planning Department, the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and Gehl developed the concept of a ‘Living Innovation Zone’ to engage the public imagination about how Market Street could be a world class street. The team identified ten zones along the two-mile street that could be turned over to various citizen groups and cultural institutions that would be “Bureaucracy Free”, meaning public space projects could be streamlined to create better urban areas. Photo Credit: Neil Hrushowy, Exploratorium.

Gehl projects

Building community through plazas New York City's Plaza Program — Gehl’s analysis of NYC streets and spaces identified a reoccurring condition. Numerous traffic islands are separated from building edges by unused right-hand turn lanes. Retrofitting this street typology presented a way to create plazas without disturbing main traffic flows. Since 2007, NYC DOT partnered with community organizations across New York City to create 73 new public plazas in neighborhoods lacking open space through the New York City Plaza Program. Community groups can apply for City approved physical improvements if they demonstrate a capacity to maintain the plaza. Successful applications receive standard furnishings from the City to connect the traffic island to a sidewalk. Due to Gehl’s analysis, special emphasis was placed on communities lacking open space. Plazas along Broadway created 400,000+ sq ft of new meeting space. While most utilize simple and affordable designs, some like Times Square have since received funding for a permanent design improvement.

Products Public Life Diversity Assessment Gehl and JMBC measured and evaluated if public life and public space design promoted equitable access to opportunities through the New York City Plaza Program. . User Needs Assessment Gehl and JMBC merged ethnographic methods, asking who felt invited to the new public spaces and who didn’t. Report Public Life & Urban Justice in NYC’s Plazas

Our process 2007

NYC DOT contracted Gehl to do a PSPL (Public Space Public Life Study) of selected sites around the city


The Greenlight for Midtown, an initiative to reduce car traffic and increase pedestrian space in Midtown along Broadway is developed


Construction of Gehl’s 1.15ha masterplan began including the public spaces


NYC Sustainable Streets Index is released, DOT’s annual report on transportation trends and performance of street improvement projects


Gehl conducts a PSPL of the Plaza Program sites across 5 boroughs resulting in the “Public Life & Urban Justice in NYC’s Plazas report

Traffic island being converted to a public space


In 2007-2008 Gehl did an analysis of New York City’s public life and public spaces across selected sites in 5 boroughs. This analysis informed much of the city’s strategy for improving streets as public spaces, and ultimately harnessed the creation of the NYC Public Plaza Program.


Through 18 months of investigation, JMBC and Gehl asked – who feels invited to the new public spaces, who doesn’t, and how the plazas were being used? Merging our method of design ethnography and JMBC’s ‘Just City’ values we could explore connections between public space design and social and spatial justice. The evaluation told us that these plazas are important local assets! There was a significant amount of social mixing in the plazas and people showed a strong sense of ownership over their plazas in locations that were in the outerboroughs.


The plaza program also brought low-income people to new neighborhoods, surprisingly the plazas were often more diverse than the surrounding neighborhoods. To date, some of the recommendations have contributed to the DeBlasio administration’s support of an NYC DOT Plaza Equity Program and a new City budget line item for maintenance of plazas in neighborhoods in need of support. The final report, “Public Life and Urban Justice in NYC’s Plazas” was cited as a resource in the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s, Design and Construction Excellence 2.0: Guiding Principles.

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Gehl projects

Good living in the city Nordea-fonden — What value do urban projects bring to society and to individual community members? Gehl was asked by Nordea-fonden to develop a new set of assessment tools and concepts for measuring the impact of urban projects rather than simple outputs. This was done on the basis of their strategic campaign ‘Good Living in the City’. The assessment followed a people-centered approach towards measuring 3 of the projects sponsored by Nordea-fonden. The aim was to understand what citizens, as well as society can gain from different types of projects. The study, which was carried out in collaboration with Social Action, involved among other things following a small group of people involved in the three projects over a period of 1.5 years to understand how their personal lives were influenced by their involvement in the project. Five themes were investigated: community, diversity, ownership and engagement, public space as meeting space, and visibility about possibilities. By following 3 projects of different scales, we learnt that different sized projects can serve very different purposes in society.

Products Public Life Diversity Assessment Behavioral obervations and physical registrations. User Needs Assessment People counts, in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, social media monitoring, live tracking of behavioral changes and attitudes via online platforms.

Photos credit: Nordea-fonden and Irene Folsach

The 3 projects Krible Krable

A project run by the national association of nature counselors in Denmark which set out to inspire children to investigate and explore the surrounding nature and its inhabitants through exciting activities, curiosity, play and learning. Krible Krable managed to spread new ideas to a lot of day care institutions but the impact of integrating nature experiences in new ways remains to be seen.


Community-driven garden in a social housing estate as part of a social and physical development plan for the social housing area. BoGro has successfully managed to strengthen the sense of community among residents (across ages and ethnicity) and create a strong sense of ownership and engagement among a selected group of residents.

4H Common Gardens

A project driven by the international organization 4H setting up different types of gardens in various urban settings. The impact assessment looked at a new public space in front of a library in a small town. The public space was redesigned with plant boxes which could be adopted by local citizens. The new library garden is an example of a very small scale project which has had quite a significant impact in the small town by creating a new type of meeting space for a broad range of citizens, thus not only benefiting the people who adopted a plant box.

Largo São Francisco, Sao Paulo, Brazil


Photos: Centro Aberto, Gestão Urbana SP, Prefeitura de São Paulo

Largo São Francisco, Sao Paulo, Brazil



Gehl project sampling

2017 / Tapping into Akron’s potential

2017 / Creative Placemaking in Washington DC

Client: Downtown Akron Partnership

Client: The Washington DC Office of Planning

Gehl conducted a prototyping workshop followed by two pilot projects for Downtown Akron. The pilots' aim were to test ideas to ultimately make wellinformed long-term investments in the public realm.

Gehl was selected to work with two project sites as curator, producer and evaluator. One of the projects, the Ward 7 ‘Super Stop’, brought kids and arts organizations in to a disadvantaged area to design local bus stops.

2017 / Giving Nashville back its identity

2017 / A world class waterfront for Dhaka

2017 / Embracing the paradox of planning in Barrio 31

Client: Metro Nashville Public Works

Client: Dhaka South City Corporation

Client: The City of Buenos Aires

Gehl created a long-term guide to improve Nashville’s public realm. One key action was to introduce a pilot, which expanded the sidewalk on Lower Broadway, an intensely crowded street.

The City of Dhaka, along with the World Bank, commissioned Gehl to plan multiple pilot projects addressing livability challenges. The key action was a pilot project at the Buriganga riverfront.

Gehl was engaged to advise in the redevelopment of Villa 31, Buenos Aires' most iconic informal settlement, into a neighborhood with formalized housing and services, while retaining the organic quality of the self-built neighborhood.

2017 / A new welcome to the Eiffel Tower

2016 / Humanizing infrastructure for Santiago

2015 / Public Life Action Plan in Pittsburgh

Client: The City of Paris

Client: Interamerican Bank of Desarrollo & Gobierno Regional Metropolitano de Santiago

Client: Envision Downtown Pittsburgh

The City of Paris has begun the process of understanding and improving life and space around the Eiffel Tower. Gehl was asked to conduct a study of the public spaces; their qualities and how they are used, to help inform future changes.

Gehl was hired to improve transit hubs throughout Santiago to make them safer for pedestrians and better public environments.

Gehl helped the city meet their goal of developing a competitive world class public realm. Gehl conducted a site analysis and a PSPL Survey to build a vision from eye level.

2015 / Designing for Philadelphia’s railway station

2015 / More for all — Charlotte’s Public Space Plan

2013-15 / Retail pop-up in San Francisco

Client: University City District

Client: Charlotte Center City Partners

Client: San Francisco Giants

Gehl designed flexible furniture for Philadelphia’s iconic railway station. The furniture serves both as an activation tool for the space as well as a way to advise future development.

Using the input from the 'Favorite Place' activities tool, Gehl developed actionable steps for Charlotte to achieve better streets and open spaces.

Gehl led the design, programming, and implementation of The Yard at Mission Rock – a pop-up for cultural, retail, food, and recreation.

2014 / Chongqing streets classified for people

2013 / Urban Interventions in Mar del Plata

2013 / A New Heart for São Paulo

Client: Yuzhong District, Chongqing

Client: IADB

Client: Itaú Unibanco

Gehl collaborated with the China Sustainable Transportation Centre to introduce a long-term public space plan for the Jiefangbei area in central Chongqing.

Gehl provided the city with recom‑ mendations and design strategies. One key move was to improve conditions for pedestrians through a pilot project reclaiming street space for pedestrians.

Gehl collaborated with São Paulo Urbanismo to improve the public space network of São Paulo with a series of pilot projects for the Vale do Anhangabaú area.

2012-13 / Improving Public Life in Moscow

2011 / Istanbul’s cohesive urban identity

2010 / Sydney’s Public Space Strategy

Client: Genplan

Client: Embarq Sürdürülebilir Ulasim

Client: City of Sydney

Gehl guided the City of Moscow in city wide strategies, including the transformation of a main street along the waterfront into a recreational park.

Gehl formulated a shared vision for the heart of Istanbul in order to unite the various area features, create a cohesive urban identity and improve mobility conditions.

Gehl advised the implementation of a light rail in Sydney. A study of George Street, showed that the light rail can carry up to 8,000 people an hour, which will help reduce traffic congestion.

Gehl focus

Livabilitization — Numbing the urban experience

livability barometer. To me, livability is a changing process and about paying attention to local contexts. It can be a messy process, but it should always come down to the ultimate question of livability “for whom?”.

By Jeff Risom As Managing Director of Gehl in the US, Jeff leads the San Francisco and New York based teams

It is crucial that architects take a more critical view of livability and I am grateful that Gehl has the opportunity to contribute to conversations like this. What is even better is that more and more people – from city leaders to everyday citizens – are also involved in this debate and that more and more professional disciplines, outside of architecture and engineering, have the opportunity to actively construct the social infrastructure of lives. Livability as a ranking tool We know that livability is not a formula. From The Economist to Mercer, livability is used as an indicator to determine quality of life, how to compensate expats working

abroad, and how to rank cities against one another. Then we have Monocle who have developed a bestselling model that essentially outlines the coolest places around the world right now. Some indexes have good categories for measurement, like corruption, but there is not one particular definition of livability that can be captured by any ranking system. When one tries to encapsulate livability into a ranking, we end up stripping down the meaning until we are left with something like Monocle, which may be sexy and a good guide book, but is fundamentally flawed as a city

Livability as a tool for making cities for people Making cities for people, starts with talking to people and allowing local people to define what livability means for them. To get a picture of human needs and engage more diverse people in differing contexts you must layer methods throughout the process. You must go out to the people. When working with livability at the crux of our scope, we know that we (as consultants) aren’t always the best people to talk to community members because they will not necessarily feel trusting of us as outsiders. So, in that case we will partner

→ Millennium Park, Chicago

Philadelphia is 35% black, and when we ask, “how many young black kids under 18 have been to city hall?” the answer is somewhere around 1%. with other local groups that embody the community where we’re working and have them do the asking. The methodology and ethos should be grounded in the process – we need to go to where people are and ask them questions that only they are experts in. By observing people in their natural habitat and asking questions about everyday routines we get closer to harnessing a good public life. By layering methodologies and inviting more people to participate in the process, livability can flourish. Livabilitization: The numbing of the urban experience The process of “livabili-tizing” cities around the world can

have a numbing effect on us citizens. The excitement, struggle, conflict of interests that you feel in many cities like London or New York, from their messy or chaotic charm, is often lost as cities strive toward the pinnacle of livability. When we take Copenhagen as an example, everything functions at near perfection for most of society. You can bike to work and live near amenities, and you have an economic situation that does not put personal strain on you. It is a comfortable place to live, but it is also a hyper-regulated society. In this process of creating the most livable city, are we losing the edge of what produces cultural and social innovation? I see livability as a goal to strive for, but that it should challenge the status quo and center around issues like affordability, feeling included in society, and having public spaces in which you feel invited. One example that puts this into perspective is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. City Hall in Philadelphia is a beautiful building designed in the 1800s. Philadelphia is 35% black, and when we ask, “how many young black kids under 18 have been to city hall?” the answer is somewhere around 1%. Alex Peay, founder of

Rising Sons in Philadelphia is a local advocate who has been tackling issues of identity and invitation within the city. He has been working with educating local youth, taking young black kids to city hall and saying, “this is your place, you can go in, look around, talk to people, city hall actually belongs to you”. The reaction is surprising, and why this work is so important. The kids say, “What?! I don’t belong here. Are you serious?” It can take time for them to really understand that a place so fundamentally public as a city hall is a place that they’re welcome. When we see a mission like Alex’s then we can see a holistic view of livability, and avoid the numbing effect of “livabilitization”. Again, the most important question here is: livable for who? The spatial form of livability There are universal elements of spatial form, that achieve livability standards, that are oriented around people’s needs, for example human scale. However, these elements are not always copy and paste, and they should be tailored to a local and cultural context. This is why we create a canvas, empower local groups with effective tools, provide a useful process, and evaluate the successes. In this

destination to meet other people, to enjoy leisure time in the city. It would be incredibly beneficial for livability if designers and politicians can start asking public life questions from the beginning – How do you make people more included and feel invited to spend time? How do you make streets safer? How do you get a good level of local creative entrepreneurship? Asking these questions How do you make people more included and of designers and feel invited to spend time? many other disciplines might manifest into a way livability is not only spatial landmark like a High and social, but also becomes Line, a new street type like fundamentally a political Nørrebrogade, or maybe problem. something different that we haven’t even thought of yet. Problems are constantly posed in the way that we As unsatisfying as the answer finance projects. We inevitably may be, I do not believe ask architects and designers there is a single silverthat are very talented form bullet answer to creating givers the wrong questions. livable cities. When we aim Rather than asking them to to provide livability in places create new landmarks or to as different as Philadelphia, emulate beautiful projects Dhaka, and Copenhagen the such as the High Line, which answer will be very different. leads to turning all elevated Therefore, universal indexes railways into parks, we should are far too limited. Rather, be asking what are the public it is more effective to use a life outcomes of places like process and tools to better the High Line. The High Line understand people and their succeeds in many ways as a experience. By tailoring the

process every time, we can be more sensitive to different local contexts. Architects and designers need to begin releasing some control over city making and accept that they might need to redefine the preconceived notions of the success criteria of a project. From one that is about form and aesthetics alone, to one that is defined much more locally and measured by how people “vote with their feet” by spending time and feeling invited to be who they are while celebrating all that we have in common.

This article appeared in Arkitekten magazine, issue 11, dedicated to the topic of livability. Jeff Risom, Managing Director and Partner at Gehl was interviewed by Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss, Philosopher, in this six-part discussion.

Our team

Photo: Peter Helles Eriksen

We are a dynamic, talented, international team, from varying backgrounds, who share the values and ambitions of ‘making cities for people’. Gehl people are passionate about cities, people and the challenges we face as a society. That is why we develop close, long-term relationships with the people who work with us. At the start, we take the time to find the right mix of skills and disciplines to build a team that best suits the project needs and that is nimble enough to take-in and take-out the people and groups who are relevant at the different project stages. Throughout, the Gehl team uses their communication skills to help clients tell their story in a compelling and heart-felt way.


People First Approach Gehl brings several decades of experience working with cities and engaging people. Since 2000, when Gehl was established as an urban design practice, we have been committed to balancing idealism with pragmatism to ensure our work has the greatest impact in 'making cities for people'!

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