Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space by Jan Gehl

By Jan Gehl


“. . .thoughtful, appealing, and enlightening...”

—Jane Jacobs


“This publication may have an enduring infl uence at the destiny caliber of public open areas. via assisting us larger comprehend the bigger public lifetime of towns, existence among constructions can in basic terms movement us towards extra full of life and fit public locations. purchase this booklet, fi nd a snug position to take a seat in a public park or plaza, start studying, go searching. you'll be shocked at the way you will begin to see (and layout) the realm differently.”

—Landscape Architecture

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The automobile has made it possible to replace active participation in spontaneous local social activities with a drive to see selected friends and attractions. Abundant possibilities do exist for compensating for what has been lost. Precisely for this reason, the fact that there is still ­widespread critisism of the neglected public spaces is indeed thought provoking. Something is missing. protests That something is missing is illustrated emphatically by widespread popular protests against physical planning as it is practiced, evidenced in debates on city and residential environments and the organization of residents around demands for improvement of the physical environment.

A special group of professional planners assumed the work of building cities and developed theories and ideas about how cities ought to be. The city was no longer merely a tool but became to a greater degree a work of art, conceived, perceived, and executed as a whole. No longer were the areas between buildings and the ­functions to be contained in them the major points of interest, but rather the spatial effects, the buildings, and the artists who had shaped them took precedence. In this period it was primarily the appearance of the city and its buildings – the visual aspects – that were developed and ­transformed into criteria for good architecture and urban design.

In contrast with the medieval town, these ­dimensions are not determined primarily by use but by other, mostly formal considerations. ) or more than twice as large as the Campo in Siena. For this reason it is quite unusable as a town square in this little town. On the other hand, the city plan is an interesting graphic work that, like so many other Renaissance-inspired plans, bears witness to being created on the drawing board. The conscious awareness of the visual aspects of city planning during this period and the aesthetics formulated in this context decisively formed the basis for the architectural treatment of these problems in succeeding centuries.

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