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'Bird Shit Architecture' in Brasilia and Beyond

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Published on Sep 2, 2011

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2011/05/02/Jan_Gehl_Ci...

Jan Gehl, architect, urban planner, and author of Cities for People, discusses what he calls "bird shit architecture," a trend in urban planning that originated in the 1950's and persists to the present day. This type of architecture, he explains, is designed to look good from a plane, but not practical for the actual residents of a city.

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An important paradigm change happened around 1960. City planning, as a concept, took off on a huge scale in response to the challenge of fast-growing cities. At the same time, traffic planning took over the planning at eye level to address the rapid influx of cars. In the rough and tumble of all this, caring for the people who use cities was completely left behind.

By 1961, people like Jane Jacobs raised her voice about this new situation in her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. But, not much happened for three or four decades. The idea of "Cities for People" became an overlooked and forgotten dimension.

This is the story told by Jan Gehl in his new book. He describes why looking after people is crucial for the quality of cities in the 21st century, how it can be accomplished and how it is actually done by now in more and more projects in more and more cities. The transformations carried out in such cities as Copenhagen, Melbourne, Sydney, Amman and New York will serve as examples of this new people-oriented direction in planning. - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Jan Gehl is a trained architect and Professor of Urban Design in The School of Architecture at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Gehl has been awarded the "Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize for exemplary contributions to Town Planning" by The International Union of Architects as well as an honorary doctors degree from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

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