19 December 2009

Copenhagen, Jan Gehl and Contested Streets

Here's a clip from Transportation Alternatives' documentary Contested Streets wherein Copenhagen is profiled and architect and urban planner Jan Gehl is interviewed and guides us through the last four decades of Copenhagen's transformation to one of the world's most liveable cities.

As Gehl says in the documentary:
"It's really wonderful to live in a city where every day when you wake up in the morning you realise that the city is a little bit better than yesterday. I've had this feeling now for over forty years."

The bicycle features prominently in the segment. Gehl says about Copenhagen:
"...one third go by bicycle, one third go by public transportation and one third in private cars. That is why we are the city in the western world that has least traffic - in any big million city [metropolis] - because the bicycle is carrying such a great weight in the total traffic picture."

Brilliant clip and interview with Jan Gehl highlighting Copenhagen's journey.


James D. Schwartz said...

Great video Mikael! Here in Toronto we have seen local businesses disrupt all attempts at creating pedestrian/cyclist-only streets. Businesses have a lot of power to influence our politicians and we now entering 2010 with cars still ruling all of our urban streets.

This video gives us hope for a better future ;)

Mark said...

'4 lanes of traffic, buses, noise and the whole who-la-boo" I like this description!

In all seriousness, the most serious point that needs to be spread as a message here is such a great quote: "You have to take people seriously" Any business that thinks pedestrianizing our cities will damage their businesses needs their head checked. There is a reason why those hideous shopping malls are popular - it's because once you are inside they are totally car free, clean and safe - cities can learn a lot from that.