The Human Scale


Mayor Joe Curtatone and the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development are very excited to announce a special screening of an important film making the rounds on the Film Festival circuit. The Human Scale is a new documentary film about the work of Danish Architect Jan Gehl and how his human centered approach to urban design is revolutionizing urban places around the world.

When: January 30th, 2014 6:30-8:30PM
Where: The Somerville Theatre
How Much: FREE!

Space is limited. Please register now:

Special Introduction by Mayor Curtatone to introduce the film.

Human Scale Event Poster

The Human Scale questions our assumptions about modern cities, exploring what happens when we use a people centered approach as the focus of city design. For 40 years the Danish architect Jan Gehl has systematically studied human behavior in cities. His starting point was an interest in people, more than buildings – in what he called “Life Between Buildings”. What made it exist? Why was it destroyed? How could it be brought back? This lead to studies of how human beings use the streets, how they walk, see, rest, meet, interact etc. Jan Gehl also uses statistics, but the questions he asks are different. For instance: How many people pass this street throughout a 24 hour period? How many percent of those are pedestrians? How many are driving cars or bikes? How much of the street space are the various groups allowed to use? Is this street performing well for all its users?

Jan Gehl conducted his first research in Italy and utilized is observations to transform the planning of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, for the past 40 years. His ideas inspired the creation of highly walkable streets, the expansion and improvement of cycling infrastructure, and the reorganization of parks, squares and other public spaces throughout Copenhagen and across the Nordic region. Today, cities like Melbourne, New York, Christchurch, and Somerville are all taking notice of Gehl’s work that helped quickly change Copenhagen into the world’s happiest city.

Gehl Architects is an urban research and design consultancy focused on the relationship between the built environment and people’s quality of life. They address global trends with a people-focused approach, utilizing empirical analysis to understand how the built environment can promote human flourishing. They apply this analysis to strategic planning and human-centered design to empower citizens, decision makers, company leaders, and organizations. The work of Gehl Architects is based on Jan Gehl’s five decades of extensive research on life in public spaces. Their research continues to deal with the many factors that influence public life and public space and how people use it.

Join us January 30th at the Somerville Theatre to learn more about scale for measuring happiness in a city: The Human Scale.


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