Transition Ottawa

Building Community Resilience Through Action

I enjoyed Mr. Gehl's presentation. It started with a comical look at how we ended up with ugly cities. Some of the causes: architects obsessed with form rather than function, airplane-scale instead of people-scale, infiltration of cars and planners who cater to drivers instead of people. This was the 1950's.

Moving to the 1960's he talked about the effect Jane Jacob's had with her book "The Death and Life of American Cities". Copenhagen acted on it, but North America and many other places did not. Examples of people-scale urban scenes were shown and wonderful pictures of dedicated bicycle lanes, less asphalt dedicated to cars, streets designed to encourage public interaction, and beautiful, inviting urban areas. I also enjoyed his emphasis on the health benefits and economic benefits of cycling over driving.

I can only hope that someone from Ottawa was there. The Mayor of Gatineau was there. I hope that this presentation will be used to pressure our two municipalities and the NCC to work hard to improve the cycling network in the NCR and implement safe cycling routes through downtown Ottawa. We need these ideas in our city.

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Comment by Transition Ottawa (/jd) on October 7, 2010 at 1:38pm
Here's the Gehl Architects url:
Comment by Ron Rancourt on October 7, 2010 at 1:20pm
Mr. Gehl received a standing ovation at the end of his presentation. Probably because we all know how seriously lacking we are with respect to cycling incentives and urban design in Ottawa. Thanks for posting the interview, I'll take a listen. I'd like to find his presentation online - the pictures were so telling. For instance he showed pictures of widened bicycle lanes at the expense of a car lane. He used humour a lot and had a fun personality.

There was a translator as well, so I wonder if his presentation will be made into a DVD. His new book is available here. Also an article on reclaiming space for people in Manhattan.
Comment by Transition Ottawa (/jd) on October 7, 2010 at 1:09pm
Although I didn't attend the presentation, I did manage to record an interview with Camilla van Deurs, a member of Mr. Gehl's team which CBC radio carried earlier that morning. A fascinating perspective on Ottawa's cycling infrastructure -- particularly her astounding statistic that 38 per cent of Copenhagen commuters cycle versus 2 per cent here in Ottawa.
Listen to the interview
(For some reason, Ning doesn't allow uploading audio files, so I had to post this as a 'video'. Go figure! ) / jd

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