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Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  899 ratings  ·  34 reviews
“. . .thoughtful, beautiful, and enlightening...”
—Jane Jacobs
“This book will have a lasting infl uence on the future quality of public open spaces. By helping us better understand the larger public life of cities, Life between Buildings can only move us toward more lively and healthy public places. Buy this book, fi nd a comfortable place to sit in a public park or pla
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 25th 2008 by Danish Architectural Press (first published 1971)
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Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: architecture
i read this to the end, without skipping even a paragraph and its not a fiction book so i guess this means life between buildings was a very interesting book! its packed with useful information about public spaces and people's behaviours, surveys, facts and suggestions. the book is well written, with no excess information, lots of pictures to accompany the examples and is separated in smaller parts that consist of 2-4 paragraphs (very useful for people with small attention span myself included). ...more
Jökull Auðunsson
Að lesa þessa bók er eins og að fá „borgargleraugu“. Maður horfir í kringum sig og skilur umhverfið sitt mun betur. Það er allt sett í stærra og skýrara samhengi og það er ekki laust við að maður verðir tilfinningalegur gagnvart bersýnilega heimskulegum ákvörðunum sem bitna á öllum þeim sem þurfa að nota bílaborgina Reykjavík. Mæli með.
Jesper Haller
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the true masters of down-to-earth city planning. You will never be able to walk through a modernist concrete wasteland again without thinking: "Why? Why so devoid of details, logical paths, places to meet, sit, walk" etc. And no, the answer is not always lack of funds. Some planners and builders just love building fortresses... ...more
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This short book, amply illustrated with photographs, makes a strong case that design of public space can enhance or limit people's use of that space. Many of the observations seem obvious once made, but certainly I had never thought of them that way before - that people will do the things they have to do, no matter how bad the weather or the design - like go to work and go home from work - but the things they don't have to do are very subject to influence by environmental conditions (is the stre ...more
Ziyad Hasanin
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: architecture
منذ بداية دراستي للعمارة ومع مطالعاتي في علم النفس والاجتماع نشأ لدي تصور أن الأماكن التي نحيا فيها لا بد وأن لها بصمة وأثر في تكوين شخصياتنا وعلاقاتنا الاجتماعية بل وربما تصوراتنا عن العالم والوجود حتى.. وكشخص عاش شخصيًا فشل التخطيط المدني والعمراني الحداثي وفشل نظام الإسكان والبيوت الذي لا يقيم للبشر والسكان والعلاقات الاجتماعية وزنًا فكتب يان غيل بالنسبة لي كنزٌ عظيم!

الكاتب يحلل الطبيعة البشرية وكيف نتعامل ونتحرك ونتفاعل مع بيئتنا وكيف أن على مدار التاريخ كانت المدن والقرى والمساحات تصمم تلق
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
upplýsandi bók sem minnir mann á að mannlegt borgarskipulag sé krafa og réttur fólks sem býr í einhverskonar þéttbýli. einstaklega fróðleg um alls kyns smáatriði sem maður hefur ekki komið auga á fyrir lestur bókarinnar. mæli með fyrir öll þau sem hafa áhuga á borgarskipulagi og lífvænlegum borgum.
Świetna książka, która pokazuje jak mądrym planowaniem przestrzeni miejskiej można zachęcić ludzi do spacerowania, spędzania czasu na zewnątrz, a nie przemykania między budynkami. Dużo ilustracji i zdjęć, które stanowią świetne przykłady
Afra Anan Saba
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jan explains how can architects make people come out of their homes through urban planning. Amply illustrated with many relevant pictures.
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urbanology
Another urban design classic. First published in 1971, Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space, as its name suggests, talks about the issues planners and designers should think about in creative active public spaces. That to promote active public life, we have to move away from planning approaches that focus on the building structure, its design, layout and functions, but views the space outside the building as an afterthought.

Gehl discusses the need to create invitations for people to enter
Erhardt Graeff
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quick read full of insights into how people approach public spaces. This is understandably a classic of urban planning, and is incredibly accessible. I loved how every spread had at least one photo, and often several supporting the text with observable evidence. The book seems like a nice complement to Jane Jacobs classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, focusing more on the details of design that support the type of livable, walkable cities they both dream of.
Yuni Karuniawati
Apr 12, 2010 marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-theory
A fundamental essay on how human activity is shaped by the urban form, and a thorough compendium of design advice to foster said activity. Very clearly presented, with all the epigraph titles on the side for easier navigation, and written in easy prose, it's a quick read. Still, its claims are solidly supported by copious observational evidence, resulting in a very insightful piece of work. If anything, I would say it lacks locality awareness: the book aims to be universal, but the evidence is g ...more
Daniel Vaz Monteiro
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An engaging book with a simple and easy to read style of writing, that from point-blank introduces us readers to a detailed vision of its main goal: a street full of life and activity. From that point forward until the end, Jan Gehl maintains that vision and guides us through a series of social and urban design lessons with a great understanding of how these two areas interact with each other. Quite adictive, highly recommended.
Yasmine  Sobh Salama
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
It enhances my thinking in system when looking at overall mobility of a whole city in which citizens and their social behaviors towards traffic, physical environements (buildings, sidewalk, decoration) and other factors (ie. climate,etc.) dynamic inteconnect with each other.
The book aims to be universal, but the evidence is gathered almost exclusively in the West, particularly in cold climates, and a few design solutions it suggests, implemented in the wrong places.
Yasmine Sobh
Carolina Helena
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Li este livro na recém versão portuguesa.
Um livro repleto de observações pertinentes em relação ao espaço público e à forma como as pessoas se usam dele, fazendo-nos repensar as incompatibilidades entre um desenho urbano que "fica bem no papel" e um que realmente tenha o melhor interesse das pessoas em vista. É leve, composto por capítulos curtos e pode interessar mesmo aos não arquitectos.
Pablo Lopes
May 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Um livro da linhagem do Camillo Sitte, Gordon Cullen e Jane Jacobs. Que alguns dos projetos apresentados lembram os condomínios fechados que se espalham nas cidades brasileiras incomoda. Tirando esta má impressão, há efetivamente alguns estudos sobre o uso do espaço público que suplantam o estilo particular apresentado pelo autor. Uma leitura importante.
Rajiv Babu
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A short book, written with simple english, with ample photographs for anyone to understand. Provides insights on how the public perceive public spaces. It also acts like a guide for urban planners and designers on what to do, and what not to do while designing spaces between buildings. It is a must read.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book enhances my thinking in system when looking at overall mobility of a whole city in which citizens and their social behaviors towards traffic, physical environements (buildings, sidewalk, decoration) and other factors (ie. climate,etc.) dynamic inteconnect with each other.
John Dawson
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fairly well known, I understand, in its own field of urban architecture, but deserves a wider audience. The book makes the long overdue case that, as the title suggests, the space between buildings could be so much more than the thoroughfare, mostly for motor traffic, that it largely is.
Alejandro Torres Porras
Excelente libro básico de urbanismo, el campo nuevo que nos deja por investigar la sociología urbana temas perfectos para poder mejorar en nuestras propuestas de campo menor "arquitectónicas" o de campo mayor "Urbanismo - Planificación". ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Nice book with insights and methods to improve public spa
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Read this after Cities for People, which is a much better version of what is offered here.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Doesn't have brand new information in it. ...more
Patrick Cooper
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book from my masters so far.
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Altough some recursion in sensed in the text, it was satisfying enough for a high level description of urban development and its connection with human souls.

Unfortunately, the given concepts and examples were mostly from mid-sized European cities, especially nordic ones, where mass housing projects are less required and the perimeters of downtown are more compact and exact. At the last bits, the book gives some suggestions for existing "brutal" structures, but for many mega cities, I guess more
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
VERY interesting!
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book about a different perspective on city building. A very accessible read and the translation is great. The planner, Jan Gehl, knows how to state his message simply with a lot of background research to go with it. Great illustrations as well.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Podstawowa lektura dla wszystkich zainteresowanych dobrym życiem w mieście. Powinna być włączona do obowiązkowych lektur na takich kierunkach studiów jak architektura, socjologia, urbanistyka, projektowanie, a także polecana urzędnikom zajmującym się tymi kwestiami w strukturach państwowych.
Jul 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Gehl is great! and also so kind to send me this excellent book !
Pieta Kupiainen
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The most eye opening book for urban planners. It's my bible now. ...more
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Jan Gehl is a Danish architect and urban design consultant based in Copenhagen and whose career has focused on improving the quality of urban life by re-orienting city design towards the pedestrian and cyclist.

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