JAN GEHL: LIVABILITY, ATTRACTIVENESS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Jan Gehl, founder of GEHL ARCHITECTS, participant of Moscow Urban Forum plenary session “Moscow: Looking into the Future”, talks about common challenges for global cities and major factors of their international success.
— What should be the first steps to start improving Moscow?
— Clearly the Moscow City Government has already taken a number of steps toward improving the city quality. Restrictions to parking of cars, more space for pedestrians on selected streets,, introduction of traffic free " People streets" in weekend, investigations into bicycle strategy, plans for light rail and extension of Metro lines are all examples of such improvement policies. The commission of GEHL ARCHITECTS to provide an extensive quality analysis of the Public Realm is another step in this direction.
— What are the main challenges of making life better in a big city? Are there global recipes for making cities attractive?
— One of the major challenges for the big cities around the world, will in the 21 century be to adapt better balanced transportation policies where traffic of car, public transport and the people use of the city spaces becomes much better balanced, than we have seen in the later part of the 20 century. Many cities have already made impressive improvements in this direction, notably New York where a city policy for a more sustainable and livable city has - in just 5 years - resulted in impressive changes in the transportation policies and in the quality of the public realm. Other cities with impressive results being Sydney and Melbourne in Australia as well as many smaller cities. It is interesting to note that the cities which have adopted such people oriented policies also are the cities which are time an again found in the very top of the lists of the Worlds Most Livable Cities published by various International Magazines like "The Economist" and "Monocle". In todays Global Economy Cities are increasingly competing with each other. Livability, Attractiveness and Sustainability are major issues in this international competition between cities.