Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, who led Copenhagen’s turn away from car-domination toward streets and public spaces for people, is on a U.S. tour. I got to sit down with him this week in Washington.
Where traffic engineers count cars, Gehl and his colleagues count people. So instead of telling city officials to widen roads, they propose to widen sidewalks, build bike lanes, and create beautiful public spaces.
“If we make better conditions for walking and public life, or if we make better conditions for bicycling, we can see that these things are favored,” Gehl told me. “And that’s exactly what they’ve done in Copenhagen. They’ve actually turned down the cars for quite a while and upstepped the bicycle facilities.”
In this episode of Talking Headways, you can hear Gehl in his own words about everything from his assertion that “the tower is the lazy architect’s answer to density” to the Moscow mayor’s hyper-efficient way of getting people to stop parking on Main Street.