It’s all about the people in the Life-Sized City. The people are the main priority, not the machines, not the cult of big, the people. Everything else is secondary. Amazing people populate our cities, like The Lulu. The Lulu is not a consumer, she’s not a statistic, she’s not a number. She’s an amazing little human. Don’t measure her, don’t calculate how much money we’re going to make off of her in the course of her life. How much the cult of big is going to earn of this little statistical person. No. You know what you do? You design the city around her as your baseline. You reduce the number of cars, you reduce pollution, you create more green spaces, you build bicycle infrastructure, safe bicycle infrastructure, so that she can ride her bike, because that is all this kids wants to do. (Apart from eating ice-cream … ) You design for her, for the The Lulus of our world. You design for the citizens of the city, every single one of them, all of them apply here. It’s time to hack it back.
For more from Mikael Colville-Andersen, visit his urban design company Copenhagenize click here, for their ‘Bicycle Friendly City Index’ click here, for their short film series ‘Top Ten Design Elements That Make Copenhagen Bicycle-Friendly’ click here and for The Guardian article ‘Copenhagenize your city: the case for urban cycling in 12 graphs’ click here.
I guess there is this very difficult tradition, which comes from the way we teach architecture and planning, the idea that one person can solve everything. And we even have this term ‘The Masterplan’, like ‘I’m going to do The Masterplan’, which will answer all questions. And of course we know it’s impossible, cities are unbelievably complex, so even the idea of a masterplan is really crazy. All we can do is make a kind of a framework, we came make a very robust framework which allows life to take place.
Now, after many years, a great deal of knowledge has been amassed on the connection between physical form and human behavior. We have extensive information about what can and should be done. At the same time cities and their residents have become very active in crying out for people-oriented city planning. In recent years many cities in all parts of the world have made a serious effort to realize the dream of better cities for people. Many inspiring projects and visionary city strategies point in new directions after years of neglect.
Danish architect Jan Gehl is improving quality of life in cities across the globe, taking the focus away from the car and putting it back on people, with pedestrianised streets and improved cycling infrastructure. Calling itself “consultants in urban quality”, Gehl Architects works to return a human scale to public spaces.