Architect and urban designer Jan Gehl receives honorary degree from the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto recently recognized internationally acclaimed architect and urban designer Jan Gehl with an honorary degree. Gehl received the honour during convocation ceremonies for students of Innis College and Trinity College last week.

Professor Gehl is renowned for his research on how people use spaces and how the physical form influences the quality of life, academic work he has carried out through four decades at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. In the tradition of Jane Jacobs and other critics of Modernist planning, Gehl has translated observations, ideas and visions into workable methods for a people-oriented approach to architecture and city planning.

In 2000 Gehl became founding partner of Gehl Architects — Urban Quality Consultants, a city-planning firm established to transform research and theories into real world solutions. His research and transformations began in Copenhagen, but has been applied to many other cities throughout Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia. Professor Gehl has collaborated on projects for the cities of Copenhagen, London, Melbourne, Sydney, New York and Moscow, among others.

Over the course of his career, Gehl has published several books that have been translated into multiple languages. These include Life Between Buildings, Cities for People, New City Spaces, Public Spaces – Public Life, New City Life and most recently, How to Study Public Life. He has been a visiting professor in Edinburgh, Oslo, Dresden, Toronto, Calgary, Melbourne, Perth, Berkeley, San Josè, Cape Town and Guadalajara.

Among his many accolades, Gehl is an honorary fellow of the Architectural Institutes in Denmark, UK (RIBA), USA, Canada and Scotland, and of the Planning Institutes in Australia and Ireland. He has received the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize for exemplary contributions to Town Planning from the International Union of Architects, the EDRA/Places Research Award from the Environmental Design Research Association and an honorary Doctor of Letters from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

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