“First life, then spaces, then buildings – the other way around never works.” Jan Gehl

Public Space Public Life Report

During Spring of 2015, SomervillebyDesign worked with Gehl Studio to carefully measure public life as it unfolds throughout a day in the life of Somerville’s streets and public spaces. The research helped us document the public life of Somerville for the very first time and is important for bench-marking the success of future projects, making people more visible in our planning processes, as well as understanding how the design of public space supports or doesn’t support public life from happening.

As our city changes, we have to first understand how we want to live if we are to develop a built environment that will support those desires. Danish architect Jan Gehl has dedicated his career to a people first approach to city planning that has revolutionized cities around the world. Gehl Studio staff has trained Somerville OSPCD staff to bring this knowledge to Somerville and make it an integral part of all of the planning work we do.


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