My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is an update to Jan Gehl’s classic Life Between Buildings. Readers of the earlier work will have an opportunity to review the core principles that Gehl has espoused for decades, only updated with full-color photographs from cities around the world—many of which Gehl has worked in but also with many returning from LBB—including Gehl’s obsession with Venice and the Piazza del Campo in Siena. The book does expand it’s arguments by talking about more contemporary building trends with a deep-dive to the triumphs of Gehl’s hometown of Copenhagen, particularly it’s successful increase in bicycle-friendliness.
This is the other area of expansion: Gehl adds on to his livability arguments with new sections on sustainability and healthiness, which reaffirm the needs for cities to be first and foremost for pedestrians. He also touches on developing world contexts and worries about trends there in vehicular traffic crowding out pedestrians and cyclists, making the same mistake developed countries made and are only now undoing. For urban planners and architects, there is a new “Toolbox” section at the end, which collects his principles and diagrams into a few pages for easy reference.