Over the years I’ve been influenced greatly by the work of Jan Gehl’s office. I’ve been helping CNUNE and the City of Somerville setup a special screening of the Jan Gehl documentary “The Human Scale” and am excited to announce that registration for the FREE showing went up today. Here is a link to all the details and to register for the January 30th showing at 6:30 at the Somerville Theater.
I’d like to give a big thanks to Ian Judge at the Somerville Theater for providing the theater for the show and for recognizing how important the subject of this film is to local efforts. I’d also like to thank Ian Stimler from KimStim for making this whole thing happen.
Americans have been being sold the dream of driving for decades. Cleaver advertising campaigns have been manipulating our collective conscience to keep cars synonymous with freedom. However, change seems to be in the air. I think I am going to take the bus this week.
This clip comes from M2 Film out of Germany. It does a great job:
1.) Glorifying small details as tremendous technology.
2.) Leaving a lasting image of the open road in viewers minds.
3.) And, of course, positioning riding the bus as a sexy activity.
Seems like a lot of the same tricks the automobile industry has been using for decades.
My ongoing study of how best to design the human habitat has been consumed by the research of Jan Gehl. I am pleased that the CNU will be hosting him for a keynote lecture at CNU20. If you have not picked up a copy of his latest book, Cities for People, I highly recommend you give it a read.
In the film above, Mr. Gehl mentions the importance of Copenhagen incremental approach to the city’s public space improvements. Planners should find it particularly important to note that a master plan would have never been able to get the city to where it is today, and that it was the slow build up of small projects that allowed a greater vision to be created. Perhaps this is the best approach to 21st century city building? Lighter, quicker, cheaper, and, overtime, better.
There is a community in Providence that takes full advantage of the city’s proximity to the sea. All too often, I am lucky to get a call at 5:00 AM from someone in the group who is heading down for a pre-work surf. Getting two hours worth of surfing in before hitting the office at 9 AM makes living in Providence special. My question to you on this Friday evening is how are you going to enjoy your city’s regional amenities this weekend?
A big thanks to friends Damian Ewens and Stephanie Ewens for producing and editing the above film. I am looking forward to shooting more of these experimental films this spring (hopefully in warmer water). Also featured in the film is Clay Rockefeller and Carter Blackwell… they kept the pace for the paddle while I brought up the rear. You can find out more about Providence Dawn Patrol here and the Get Lively Experiment here.
Now get out there and enjoy your city’s region! Have a nice weekend.
Would you install something on your computer that slows it down, makes it less valuable and (for Mac users) ruins the beauty of it? No, of course not. Then why are we letting this happen to our cities? A compelling case for removing inner city highways is made in the video above by fellow CNU board member Jack Davis, and CEO John Norquist. For more information visit the Highways to Boulevards page at cnu.org.
Cities often overlook their forgotten public squares and parks as key economic development tools. Providence is slowly rediscovering this fact. I have had the pleasure of illustrating the redevelopment vision for Kennedy Plaza. Currently, the square is mostly know as a bus transfer center. However, it is the planning groups aim that one day this space will house New England’s largest, outdoor public market. I am particularly excited about this goal considering my bike ride to and from the office passes right through the square.
It has been a pleasure working with all the partners on the creation of this vision. It represents the best ideas the Friends of Kennedy Plaza have today, and they are looking for ways to improve upon it. Visit www.kennedyplaza.org to submit your comments.
The film would not have happened without the skills of Ben Chace. Check out his award winning film Wah Do Dem on Hulu. If you would like to know even more about what is in store for the future of Kennedy Plaza click here.