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Hej Hej from København!

As the locals say, “Der er ingen ko på isen “(translated, “there’s no cow on the ice” and vernacular for “it’s all good”). We’ve only been here for a few days but we have certainly hit the ground running-cycling, rather- and have already seen a good portion of the city.

The primary focus for the Gehl Studio Study tour is to observe how public spaces can be successfully integrated and crucial elements of the urban environment.  The Gehl methodology is focused on the idea that the human experience is a universal phenomenon. For this reason, their designs are human centric and based on the themes of flexibility, diversity, human experience, and proximity.  Bianca Hermansson of Gehl Architects has been leading us around in order to help us see what makes these spaces work. She will be coming to Seattle twice during the quarter to check in on us as well.

Our days have been spent observing these four key elements of successful urban environments in action. We have seen that  multi-use areas need not be over designed, large, or expensive but that often the simplest solutions have the biggest impact culturally, socially, and regionally. From the significance of paving patterns, the creative use of traditional materials, and a willingness to integrate temporary design experiments within the urban environment, it is clear that the Copenhagen people have embraced change in a way that seems to benefit everyone.

Written by Katie Hunt, MArch Candidate 2012

Helsingborg, Sweden : Residential and multi-use spaces along waterfront incorporate fun public art to engage passers-by. (Lauren Rock, Katie Hunt, Laura Poulin)

Copenahgen, Denmark : The Danish Royal Playhouse and the temporarily installed Ofelia Beach is the sight of the exhibit for Design Week and the INDEX Awards which focus on thoughtful contemporary design.

Reykjavik, Iceland : Otherwise boring wooden chairs and tables have been painted white and placed on empty corner to activate the leftover space. (Katie Hunt, Erin Feeney, Laura Poulin)

Copenhagen, Denmark : A large public square (currently a calm spot amidst much renovation and construction) is turned into an ice skating rink during the winter months exhibits the qualities of flexibility, proximity, human experience, and diversity quite well.

Copenhagen, Denmark : Ping pong tables outside an old church are part of an attempt to reuse many of the old religious centers for more communal activities.

Copenhagen, Denmark : A small park in an eclectic part of the city incorporates dynamic activity space for the young and the old.

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