Bringing Cities to Life: The Human Scale

Our first movie recommendation is here.

In case you find yourself in Amsterdam in the upcoming days, we highly suggest you head to the Pakhuis de Zwijger where ‘The Human Scale’ movie will be projected on January 19th 2017. For all others, below you can find a synopsis and a trailer, which will probably inspire you to look up for other ways to see the movie or simply organize a projection in your city!

The Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl has studied human behavior in cities for 40 years. In his movie he documents how modern cities repel human interaction, and argues that cities can be built in a way, which takes human needs for inclusion and intimacy into account.

The Human Scale questions our assumptions about modernity, exploring what happens when we put people into the center of our equations. Jan Gehl’s starting point was an interest in people, more than buildings – in what he called ‘Life Between Buildings’. What made it exist? When 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? Gehl performed his first studies in Italy. Later he inspired the planning of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, for 40 years. His ideas inspired the creation of walking streets, the building and improvements of bike paths and the reorganization of parks, squares and other public spaces throughout this city and in many other cities of Scandinavia. Around the world, cities like Melbourne, Dhaka, New York, Chongqing and Christchurch are now also being inspired by Gehl’s work.