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.

For more on the English edition please check ind with Island Press.

This is what Lord Richard Rogers writes in his introduction to Cities for People:

Cities are the places where people meet to exchange ideas, trade, or simply relax and enjoy themselves. A city‘s public domain — its streets, squares, and parks — is the stage and the catalyst for these activities. Jan Gehl, the doyen of public-space design, has a deep understanding of how we use the public domain and off ers us the tools we need to improve the design of public spaces and, as a consequence, the quality of our lives in cities.

The compact city — with development grouped around public transport, walking, and cycling — is the only environmentally sustainable form of city. However, for population densities to increase and for walking and cycling to be widespread, a city must increase the quantity and quality of well-planned beautiful public spaces that are human in scale, sustainable, healthy, safe, and lively.

Cities — like books — can be read, and Jan Gehl understands their language. The street, the footpath, the square, and the park are the grammar of the city; they provide the structure that enables cities to come to life, and to encourage and accommodate diverse activities, from the quiet and contemplative to the noisy and busy. A humane city — with carefully designed streets, squares, and parks — creates pleasure for visitors and passers-by, as well as for those who live, work, and play there every day.

Everyone should have the right to easily accessible open spaces, just as they have a right to clean water. Everyone should be able to see a tree from their window, or to sit on a bench close to their home with a play space for children, or to walk to a park within ten minutes. Well-designed neighborhoods inspire the people who live in them, whilst poorly designed cities brutalize their citizens. As Jan says: “We shape cities, and they shape us.”

No one has examined the morphology and use of public space to the extent that Jan Gehl has. Anyone who reads this book will get a valuable insight into his astonishingly perceptive understanding of the relationship between public spaces and civic society, and how the two are inextricably intertwined.

14 comments
  1. Chely Gomez said:

    Could I be able to find the Spanish edition yet?
    Any information about this is welcomed.

    Best

    • Eventualy, yes – we would love to get this out in as many languages as possible. . We will post any happenings on our website

  2. James said:

    A lot of interesting theory and just like Richard Rogers, Jan Gehl makes some very insightful observations about the future of urban environments. the challenges are much more profound than mere theory though. The challenges are not about what whe “should” do but rather how we actually “do” do it.

  3. Laith Wark said:

    I have just ordered a copy and can’t wait to read it.

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