New Gehl Institute Will Bring “People-First Design” to More Cities

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New Gehl Institute Will Bring “People-First Design” to More Cities

The Gehl Institute officially launched today, with $1.6 million in backing from the Knight Foundation. The Institute, an offshoot of San Francisco-based urban design firm Gehl Studio, will help create public spaces that draw in people and boost economic opportunity of the surrounding area in Knight communities (cities and towns where the foundation, which also provides funding support to Next City, focuses funding).

Next City has featured a number of Gehl projects through its new “In Public” column this year, covering work done by and inspired by Danish architect Jan Gehl, from a look at how Italian piazza design can inform a reconsidering of San Jose, California’s 10-year-old city hall plaza to the ways that recording pedestrian data can transform a city center. (The architect is a co-founder of Gehl Architects in Copenhagen; the Studio is its U.S. headquarters.)

“We want to discover how public spaces can be designed to invite people to engage their neighbors and their community. We want to know how this can lead to a culture of civic engagement and how it can advance economic opportunity,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives, in a press release. []

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