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RUP Program Welcoming Renowned Architect and Planner to Saskatoon

posted July 31, 2009

Sponsored in part by the Regional & Urban Planning (RUP) in the College of Arts & Science, an internationally-renowned leader in urban design and architecture, Jan Gehl, will be visiting Saskatoon Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

The symposium features the following two lectures, both of which are open to the public:
Presentation Part I: Monday, Aug. 31 at 7:30,
Presentation Part II: Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7:30
Frank & Ellen Remai Arts Centre, 100 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon
Cost: per presentation - Students $7, Public $12; package for both presentations - Students $12, Public $22


"Being good to people is really good to the economy,” says Jan Gehl. But how to be "good" to a city's inhabitants? According to Gehl, a good city is lively, attractive, safe, sustainable, and healthy. And we already know how to do this: limit cars, encourage bicycling, and create better outdoor public spaces so that people can walk on the streets of our city.

Jan Gehl is a Danish architect and urban design consultant whose career has focused on improving the quality of pedestrian urban life. Gehl creates sustainable environments that promote a holistic lifestyle. His approach to design extends beyond the use of sustainable materials to advocate walking, cycling and alternative transport. His vision is to create better cities that are lively, healthy, diverse, sustainable and safe, thereby improving the quality of life for all who live in them. He believes a good city is a city in which city planners carefully consider the human scale. By allowing the public realm to drive the design process, public spaces can serve as a place for all, while also embracing the unique qualities and amenities of the specific urban context. A city should be open and inviting to people and allow for many different activities and possibilities to ensure multiplicity and diversity.

Gehl reminds us that street life does not necessarily have to be confined to the summer months, an especially important concept in the countries of Northern Europe. He asserts that winter weather, moods and atmosphere require particular resources and activities, such as ice-skating rinks and kiosks selling hot soups and hot drinks. He notes that these qualities are already present in many North American cities, but argues that special lighting and heating technologies can help us to make better use of the potential of winter spaces, enabling cities to hold outdoor events, parties, movies and art throughout the year.

Jan Gehl is a founding partner of Gehl Architects – Urban Quality Consultants and has lectured all over the world. He received the highest honour from the Danish Arts Foundation—the lifelong grant. Hailing Gehl as a standard bearer for the importance of architecturally well-functioning public spaces for more than 30 years, the Danish Arts Foundation wrote: “Few, if any, have in modern times had such a fundamental influence on our understanding and on the development of the public realm as Jan Gehl. (He) is one of Denmark’s most prominent urban planning architects and he is a beacon on an international scale. His theories on life between buildings have had, and continue to have, a massive influence on the development of sustainable urban environments globally.”

Gehl is the author of the influential Life Between Buildings (1971, with the first English translation published in 1987) and Public Spaces, Public Life (2004). In 2007 he was hired by the New York City Department of Transportation to re-imagine New York City streets by introducing designs to improve life for pedestrians and cyclists.

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