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May 20, 2009
World-renowned Danish architect and urban design visionary Jan Gehl to speak in Toronto
The City of Toronto’s City Planning and Transportation Services Divisions, in partnership with the Design Exchange, are hosting a presentation and discussion of public space design with world-renowned Danish architect Jan Gehl. The event will take place Wednesday, June 3 at the Design Exchange, 234 Bay St. from 3 to 5 p.m. The event is open to all and there is no charge for attending.

Jan Gehl's visionary work and research have been embodied in the revitalization of vibrant urban streets, public spaces, and waterfronts around the world. His firm, Gehl Architects, is one of the visionaries behind New York City’s much-celebrated World Class Streets initiative - a series of projects and programs that are using public realm improvements to transform places such as Broadway into pedestrian destinations.

Using examples of his recent work in places such as New York, San Francisco and Melbourne, Gehl will share his approach for creating people-friendly cities. Gary Welsh, Director Transportation Services, says, “This is a rare opportunity to hear one of the world’s leading public space designers speak in our city. His work with public space design has spanned more than 20 years. He has transformed public space in some of the world’s greatest cities, and he will speak of this work on his visit to Toronto.”

Gary Wright, Chief Planner, noted, "Gehl’s visit is timely, given the public realm renaissance that is currently underway in our city. Projects such as the Queens Quay and Union Station revitalizations, the Coordinated Street Furniture Program and the proposed Jarvis streetscape improvements are some examples of the many recent and ongoing initiatives that are attempting to create better public spaces for all Torontonians.”

Jan Gehl is Professor (retired) of Urban Design at the School of Architecture at Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He is also the founding partner of Gehl Architects - Urban Quality Consultants, an internationally renowned urban planning and design firm. Gehl’s research on public spaces and public life began in Copenhagen, and has since been applied to cities in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. His firm is credited with helping to transform the City of Copenhagen into one of the most walkable and bikeable cities in the world. One of the hallmarks of Gehl’s work is the use of public life surveys to understand how, when and where people use urban space; this understanding provides a foundation for the development of public realm improvement strategies.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Robert Freedman, Director Urban Design, City Planning, 416-392-1126,
Bruce Hawkins, Senior Communications Coordinator, 416-392-3496,



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