Gehl Architects

Luka Beograd


Gehl Architects

Gehl Architects is a renowned consulting firm offering services in the fields of urban design, city planning and architecture. It has collaborated with the city authorities as well as urban planning institutes in: London, New York, Zurich, Copenhagen, Prague, Milan, Stockholm, Singapore, Nagoya, Amsterdam, Ljubljana, Melbourne, Oslo, Sidney, Edinburgh, Brussels and Sao Paolo.

Gehl Architects' unique methodology is based on the principle that people and public space are crucial in the city's planning process. Public space should serve as a place for everyone while embracing unique qualities and amenities of an urban space open for diverse activities and possibilities. Design solutions and strategic plans are defined on the grounds of qualitative and quantitative analyses of the social context, public space use and life in general.

In this way their guidelines and strategies for maximizing potential and improving individual development of the location are based on comprehensive understanding of its cultural and geographical characteristics. Gehl Architects' strategic guidelines are presented at workshops, public consultations, lectures and conferences.

Gehl Architects' methodology

The way to successful development of the site starts from putting people in the first place.
In order to ensure dynamic life for new locations and avoid the most common mistakes of contemporary urban planning, Gehl Architects consulting firm has developed methodology titled life/space/buildings.

Reversed process

The basic initial idea is that public space use represents the key moment for quality life in an urban context.

The usual way of planning, focused on traffic and buildings should be reversed so that the man and the user become visible in the planning process. In most cases the initial vision includes beautiful buildings development as a "glaring factor" around which there is open space. In the end there is hope that the remaining space will begin to thrive. This approach leaves to chance the most important aspects which make a city dynamic, safe and attractive. Consulting firm Gehl Architects works on implementing a different mode of thinking. First a man and then human scale environment.


The planning basis should be the vision of public life in certain location. Who are its potential users? Which activities should be included? What kind of life is going on there?


Space is developed and planned on the grounds of public life vision in order to enable and instigate desired activities. Space can be planned according to parameters which are in line with established directions, user groups and activities as part of the vision. Space should be planned in the way that enables creating new values and using the existing ones.

Gehl Architects' design solutions start by forming the vision and comprehensive programme of activities developed from the kind of life-activities and landmarks typical of the site. The next step includes development of public space network which can support public life vision through proportions, forms and climate.


The quality of buildings should be defined with respect to space and life so that functions and activities in closed and open space could be linked in the best possible way, which will enhance the quality of life. Finally we can imagine how a building can raise our aspirations to public life in terms of height.
The 21st century trends created new demands and challenges which should be considered in order to enable future development which is authentic, sustainable and adjusted to everyday life. The trends include lifestyle changes as well as changes regarding the organization of the society and city itself. Since the sixties (20th century) many mistakes have been made in urban planning because of the blind faith in new society and planning and production technologies while it has been forgotten that the man is still a human being with the same dimensions, basic needs and possibilities.

Jan Gehl

Jan Gehl is the founder of Gehl Architects, professor of architecture and urban design at the School of Architecture of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.

He drew the attention of world experts by publishing the book "Life Between Buildings" in 1971 which had great impact on urban design trends and public space planning. The book was published in Denmark, USA, Norway, Holland, Japan, China, Korea, Italy, Germany, Spain. He also published 8 more books.

For years he has been analysing the fact that people are the biggest human joy, pondering the ways in which it could be integrated into urban planning. He takes part in numerous projects all over the world as a strategy development consultant. He also creates the vision of urbanizing cities, pedestrian zones and creates human scale environment.

As a visiting professor, he taught at the universities around the world: Berkeley, University of California, (1983 and 1985), Cleveland (2000), Germany: Dresden (1986), Hannover (1995), Canada Toronto: (1972-73), Waterloo (1977), Calgary (1990), Australija: West Australia (1978), RMIT(1978) Melbourn (1976 i1978), Poland: Wroclaw (1987) Mexico: Guadalajara (1983).


1992 Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize - for his contributions to Town Planning and Territorial Development of Edinburgh
1998. EDRA/ Places Research Award, (Environmental Design Research Association, USA)
1999 Dalicarlika Prize for public space planning, Sweden
2000. Prize of the Danish Pavers Guild, Copenhagen, Denmark
2003. Australia Planning Award, 2003 (City of Adelaide)
2006. EDRA/ Places Research Award, Melbourne
2005. Australia Urban Design Award, Melbourne

Prizes and medals:

Cavaliere dell´Ordine "Al Merito della Republica Italiana"
Medaglia di Bronzo: Benemeriti della Scuola, della Cultura e dell´Arte (Italia)
N.L.Høyen - Medal for contributions on Research and Teaching in the field of Arts
International Fellow Royal Institute of British Architects (2007) (Int. FRIBA)
Honorary Fellow American Institute of Architects (2008), (Hon. FAIA)

TV Documentary

Cities for people in cooperation with the Danish Film Institute