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Les Flâneurs

‘Picture of the week’ took a small break. But when this wonderful image appeared in my inbox I figured it was time for a bit of flâneuring once again. Jacob Campbell moved from London to Copenhagen only 10 days ago and took this wonderful photo in Kongens Have.

We’re always on the look for new inspiring photos of human behavior. Read more here.

Since my bicycle is still being shipped here from London I have been able to explore the city by foot, and even though cycling engages you more than, for example, a car, I found that being without a bicycle in this bicycle-friendly city still gives you the opportunity to stop and see things you otherwise might miss; a flâneur often sees the less obvious things. So, while passing through Kongens Have I cut through a small gap in a hedge and spotted these children playing in their own little corridor of space. Architects talk about space between buildings, but here we see another scale and type of ‘un-designed’ space altogether, which is quite interesting! The hedge can be seen as a natural type of wall, which separates one space from another, but you could say that there is a transitional space on the threshold from one space to another which can be easily missed or forgotten . It could be compared to the blinking of an eye between two frames of a life. What do we miss? – The child in the photo is exploring for himself all these forgotten places!

Beatriz Pineda Revilla an urban designer, took this photo last autumn in Amsterdam when people in the neighbourhood started to prepare trees for the cold winter. Thank you for sharing this wonderful example of human creative spirit. We’re always on the look for new inspiring examples of human behavior. Read more here.

Photo; Beatriz Pineda Revilla

As respose to last weeks post Do you join in? We received several wonderful images, among them were these from Fellicity, who works for a company that is contributing to a public realm improvement project “Re-imagining Bairnsdale”.

Fellicity writes; Gehl’s book Cities for People is being used as guiding principles to develop a masterplan and detailed designs that seek to improve the quality of Bairnsdale’s public spaces; to make them more pedestrian friendly and enjoyable.

We are happy to inspire good public spacs around the world and wish Fellicity and her team the best for the project.

Photo; Fellicity Di Lorenzo

Photo; Fellicity Di Lorenzo

Fellicity Di Lorenzo writes; This picture is of a small stencil we’ve made to put up in the streets to help build awareness and start a dialogue about what changes we can make to the CBD to improve its quality; to re-imagine Bairnsdale. Its temporary wash-off chalk of course!

This week’s picture is a little out of the ordinary. The photo from Elise made me think of all the subtle forms of dialogue that takes place in the city. On her blog Elise writes; These days I’m trying my best. I’m trying my best to look at things. And there are so many when you stop for a moment.

I’d like to pose a question to all of you. What interventions have inspired you in your city? Have you ever contributed to this form of ‘urban dialogue’?  If you have a picture you have taken to contribute, please send it to me, jo@gehlarchitects.dk. You can read more here

Photo; Elise*

This weeks photo is from Patricia Brown, a friend and colleague. She was a key enabler for our “Toward a Fine City for People” report published in 2004.  Patricia continues to do vital work improving the quality of the built environment in London.

Photo; Patricia Brown, Hunter's Point Hammock, New York.

Hunter’s Point Park is just one of the number of parks recentley reclaimed along New York City’s waterfront.  These new spaces provide New Yorkers with places to walk, run, play – or to just relax and watch the world go by.

This week’s photo is from our own Lars Gemzøe, Associate Partner, Architect MAA, Senior Lecturer and one of the most active photographers we have here in the office. With a keen eye and an active trigger finger, Lars has photos of most urban situations. Requests like “I need a photo of the pavement arrows of the green cycle route” are answered with “in what kind of weather?”

Photo; Lars Gemzøe

Most of the new public spaces in the City of Copenhagen are focusing on physical activity. One of the latest upgrades is in the Haraldsgade area, where new cycle tracks placed along side public physical activity areas.

One of the main players in the new urban space : Centre for Sports and Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation

If you have a picture you have taken to contribute, please send it to me, jo@gehlarchitects.dk. You can read more here

Photo: Bruce Chan, cicLAvia

The first picture of the year is from Bruce Chan a planner/architect, and cyclist in Los Angeles.  His blog captures a lesser known side of LA. In his own words; “Most people – especially Americans – have a negative view of LA.  They complain about the traffic, the fake people, ‘hollywood’, sprawl, etc. But i’ve come to love the city.  Part of the reason is my dedication to biking through the city, and really experiencing all the activities – mostly free and public .” This photo is from cicLAvia – a recurrent event that temporarily removes cars from L.A. streets.

Keep sending your wonderful photos, celebrating cities and people. You can read more here

Photo: Peter van der Veer

The weeks photo is by Peter van der Veer a teacher who lives in Melbourne. In his own words:

Forty years ago Melbourne’s city centre was just a work place that was suddenly deserted soon after five pm on weekdays and throughout weekends. Virtually no-one lived in the city then. Home was the suburbs where lives were solitary. Today, many people live, work, study and relax in the city and socially enjoy it too every day of the week. I am one of the many who, before going home from teaching, come here, meet friends, and join the conviviality before heading home.
Even when alone, I love being among the social life and wish to keep it with me – so take photographs with a camera or my phone.

Gehl Architects Comment: Peter isn’t the only one with this point of view.  In 2011, The Economist named Melbourne the most livable city in the world.  See more about our involvement in the transformation here.

Keep sending me your wonderful photos. Read more here.

Happy monday everyone! Here is this weeks photo. Keep sending your wonderful photos, celebrating cities and people. You can read more here

Photo: Peter Gijs van Enk, Imam square in Esfahan, Iran

While Iran’s image in the west today is far from positive, plenty of Iranians are open and eager to discuss politics, religion and daily life with visitors. And they seem to be experts in enjoying their cities: every day you will find families and groups of friends having picknicks on squares, in parks and other public areas. The centuries old Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque at the elegant Imam Square in Esfahan provides a great urban setting for this.

Photo: Kristian Skaarup, New York, High Line Park, August 18, 2011, 22.30 pm, 77 Fahrenheit

The remarkable thing about the picture is that the girl sits in the new High Line Park in the middle of Manhattan at 10.30 pm, but still feels safe enough to minimize her prospect to the outside world and with no feeling of refuge! She sits in the grass and reads in a book with her back turned to her surroundings. Fear of theft or assault does not seem present in this photo.

Traditionally, we prefer to have a shelter on the edge of a forest, because, in the past, man could hunt in the open fields and woman could search for fruits and plants, and, when danger threatened, they could retreat to the shelter protected by the forest (Jay Appleton, 1975)

To emphasize this, humans have their field of vision to the front (prospect), therefore needing some sort of protection from behind (refuge).

The perception of safety is necessary for feelings of enjoyment and comfort in urban open space (Wekerle and Egan, 1991)

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