Home > Complete Streets > The science of good city design

The science of good city design

Well said

We definitely know more about good habitats for mountain gorillas, Siberian tigers, or panda bears than we do know about a good urban habitat for Homo sapiens. 

~ Jan Gehl, architect, urban designer, and author of “Cities for People.” 

Gehl is a leader in helping cities create “lively, safe, sustainable and healthy” places and his work will be on display today at the Traverse City Film Festival. The screening of The Human Scale is at 3-pm at the Bijou by the Bay. This Bijou screening is sold out, but there is always a good chance that stand-by tickets will be available.

imagesFilm & urban form discussion

The film will be followed by a discussion in the festival’s Cinema Salon at Clinch Park (around 4:30). The discussion is hosted by this blogger (Gary Howe) and fellow City Commission Candidate Tim Werner. Attendees will discuss the film and how the built environment and the design of our communities shapes our habits.

In his book, “Cities for People,” Gehl details the science behind his goal of designing cities to the human scale and our biological speed. As he explains:

In this scale story, I have something that I call the five kilometer an hour scale. If we are to walk at five kilometers an hour, things have to be close so we can see them. There has to be frequent interesting things to see for it to be a nice walk. If you are in a car going 60 kilometer per hour, everything is blown up, the signs are blown up and there has to be something with great intervals for it to be a little bit exciting. If you, as a person, are out in a 60 kilometer per hour environment, you have the most boring time in your life. I do think that architects, landscape architects, and planners have gotten confused about scale. They constantly confuse car scale with people scale. Sometimes they make a mix, but most of the time they make car scale and say, look, there’s a sidewalk, people can walk here. What’s the problem? That is not at all exciting.”

Even if you can’t make the movie, join us at Clinch Park to talk city and city planning.


* Quote from an interview with American Society of Landscape Architects

NOTE: To follow my Campaign for City Commission, follow us at Gary Howe for TC on FB and, if you’re so inclined, support the effort at Rally.org/GaryHoweforTC

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