Contented Streets: Why Copenhagen Is the World’s Happiest Capital

Why have Danes again been named the happiest people on the planet? Early this year ABC News cited bikes as "perhaps … the best symbol of Danish happiness," and in this clip from "Contested Streets" it isn’t hard to see why. Here, livable streets guru Jan Gehl and others explain the many ways an increase in bike traffic (now one-third of all commutes) has improved life in the capital city of Copenhagen.

But it didn’t happen overnight. Rather, it took four decades of gradual change to make Copenhagen the place it is today. As for replicating that success elsewhere, says Gehl: "if you don’t have enough nice spaces, you can see these [become] overcrowded spaces. Then you should just make more spaces."

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Famed Danish Urbanist Jan Gehl in Town to Consult on PlaNYC

|
The Urbanist Musketeers: Alex Garvin, Jan Gehl and Fred Kent in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sept. 30, 2006. Jan Gehl, the famed Danish urbanist, is in New York City this week where, sources say, he has been hired as a consultant for Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC program. At a presentation to the board of the Regional Plan Association […]

Gehl on Wheels

|
The Jan Gehl product roll-out continues apace. Last week, WNYC. This week, New York Magazine. Word has it Gehl’s team will be presenting Department of Transportation brass with some pretty big ideas for street space re-allocation. In the meantime, enjoy another interview with everyone’s favorite Danish urban designer: Can New York really be tamed? I […]

Blogging From Copenhagen

|
The Nyhavn or "New Harbor." Twenty years ago Copenhagen’s quaint inner harbor was a parking lot. Today it is one of the city’s most popular and iconic outdoor destinations. For the next week or so I will be blogging from Copenhagen, Denmark and the Netherlands. Ahh, the glamorous, jet-setting life of the professional blogger. I am here […]

Jan Gehl: New York Could Have World’s Best Streets

|
When DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, together with consultant and Danish urban planner Jan Gehl,  introduced the new "World Class Streets" doc [PDF] to a crowd of over 300 last Thursday evening at the Center for Architecture, the event seemed equal parts town hall meeting and celebrity book launch. Building upon PlaNYC and DOT’s Sustainable Streets, […]

DOT: Bergtraum to CUNY, Primeggia to Copenhagen

|
Department of Transportation First Deputy Commissioner Judith Bergtraum, a top aide to former commissioner Iris Weinshall, is leaving DOT for a job at the City University of New York where Weinshall is now a vice chancellor. As first reported by the Daily News’ Elizabeth Benjamin, DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan just returned from a quick trip […]