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Free public lecture from urban designer

15 March 2008

Free public lecture from internationally acclaimed urban designer

An internationally renowned architect and urban designer who specialises in designing cities that are people-friendly will give a free public lecture this Friday 18 April at the Christchurch Convention Centre, Hall A.

Jan Gehl, Professor of Architecture at the University of Copenhagen, has made major contributions to the urban design of many cities including London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney.

Gehl approaches his work from the perspective of the pedestrian. He surveys how people use a city’s spaces, with the aim of making cities places where people choose to stay, rather than have to be.

During his Christchurch City Council-sponsored visit to Christchurch, Gehl will also present a seminar to city councillors and community board members, and run a workshop with council staff working in associated areas.

Principal advisor urban design Hugh Nicholson said the Council was delighted Professor Gehl could visit Christchurch, bringing his expertise in urban design that is being applied in forward thinking cities around the world.

Some of Gehl’s key concepts are:

- Traditionally, the priority order of planning in cities was to plan for Buildings-Space-People; it should be People-Space-Buildings

- If good public spaces are provided more people will walk and more recreational and social activities will be generated.

- No matter how people travel into the city eventually everybody will leave their mode of transport behind and become pedestrians experiencing the city at walking speed and eye level.

- Movement in good public spaces will be primarily be dominated by walking, cycling and limited vehicular traffic – how the traffic is distributed depends on the quality of the public spaces.

- How often spaces are used is one thing – more important is how they can be used and whether people choose to stay and enjoy them.

- The most important thing about a city is not the buildings but the spaces and the life between the buildings.

Changing Public Places
Free Public Lecture
6pm, Friday 18 April
Christchurch Convention Centre, Hall A


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