How a Behavioral Scientist Influenced City Design All Over the World

For too long, city design centered on buildings and roads, which makes sense until you think about what a city should really be designed around: the people who live and work there. And visitors, too. Buildings can be beautiful, density and efficiency look good on paper, but what good are those things if living there isn't filling the needs of the residents? Ingrid Gehl is a behavioral scientist who married Danish architect Jan Gehl.

“Why are you architects not interested in people?” Ingrid Gehl asked her new husband, Jan. “What do you think about the fact that your architecture professors take their photos at four o’clock in the morning . . . without the distraction of people in the photos?”

In the early 1960s, and in many cases still today, these were forbidden questions, particularly among those we think of as designers–architects, city planners, and engineers. Then and now, designers consider human needs for health, survival, safety, and comfort through building codes and best practices. Psychological needs are only an afterthought–at best.

When professionals in different fields marry each other, the result can be magic for more than just those two people. The Gehls collaborated with each other on ideas for making cities more than just buildings and roads, by making them workable for the people who inhabited them. Read about their influence on city planning at Co. Design. -via Metafilter, where you'll find more links on the subject.

(Image credit: Flickr user Miguel Bernas)

Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"How a Behavioral Scientist Influenced City Design All Over the World"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More