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LIFE BETWEEN BUILDINGS

PRESENTED BY: NICK SOFOUL FEB 3, 2010

PRESENTATION OUTLINE
Who is Jan Gehl? Gehl v. Functionalist Planners What is Life Between Buildings? Social Psychology / Design Research Applications of Life Between Buildings Conclusions Questions/Comments

WHO IS JAN GEHL?


Born 9/17/1936 Danish Architect and Urban Designer Royal Danish Academy of the Fine Arts Life Between Buildings (1971/1987) Public Spaces, Public Life (2004)

Jan Gehl v. Functionalist Planners


Excessive thinning-out of dwellings assured air & light but also caused EXCESSIVE thinning of people/events. mass media and shopping centers equal the ONLY contact points with the outside world streets and squares became roads, paths, and endless front lawns.

Jab towards Planners


If a team of planners at anytime had been given the task of doing what they could to reduce life between buildings, they hardly could of achieved more thoroughly what has inadvertently been done in the sprawling suburban areas, as well as, numerous urban redevelopment schemes.

Jab towards Architects


If life between buildings is given favorable conditions through sensible planning of cities and housing alike, many costly and often stilted and strained attempts to make architectural effects can be spared.

VERSUS

LIFE BETWEEN BUILDINGS


Emphasizes the need for SOCIAL CONTACT and STIMULATION through urban design Grounded in Social/Developmen tal Psychology

LIFE BETWEEN BUILDINGS


Social contact can be measured by intensity. Gehl argues that by increasing the chance of low intensity contacts will in turn allow for more complex social interactions.
Close Relationships

Friends

Acquaintances

Chance Contact

INTENSITY

Passive Contact

PUBLIC SPACES & SOCIAL PSYCH


Studies show that daily activities increase chances of developing contacts. People are more likely to be close friends with people to live/work near them. Frequent contact is critical for social development of children

Social/Urban Research
Park benches in the lively areas are utilized more than in the quiet areas. People more likely to stop when walking in front of newspaper kiosks, outside cinemas, clothing stores, photography exhibits, and toy stores than banks/offices.

More Research
A direct connection between street quality and street activity In Copenhagen, the number of public squares/pedestrian streets tripled between 1968 and 1986 likewise, a tripling of the number of people standing and sitting was recorded. In San Francisco, the deterioration of the public space was noted when traffic increased from 2K to 8K to 16K vehicles. At 16K cars, outdoor activities became practically non-existent

Copenhagen Street Study

The Creation of Life Between Buildings


City and Site Planning (General) Places to assemble/disperse, places to integrate/segregate, places to invite/repel, places to open up/close in Detail Planning Spaces for walking, staying, standing, sitting, seeing, hearing, talking, a pleasant place in every respect, soft edges

DESIGN + SOCIAL PSYCH = SOCIAL INTERACTION

Urban Design at Work: NYC Madison Square

Jan Gehls Work: Shared Streets

Conclusion
Life between buildings took on the problem of dead cities by looking at the cause (single-use zoning), and offers solutions to bring places back to life. Jans views of society might conflict with some American values/desires of privacy, space, and lawns Life between buildings = PLANNING FOR PEOPLE!

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS?