Gehl Architects Give Edinburgh A “Health Check”

8 Dec

jan gehl copengagen
jan gehl copengagen

Gehl Architects were brought in to help revitalise Edinburgh city centre and carry out a “health check”. The study centered on Princes St., Edinburgh’s  Main street functioning as both its primary thouroughfare and shopping street. This preliminary study may herald a similar makeover to what Gehl achieved in copenhagen and with a track record of helping to create pedestrian-friendly areas in Beijing, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cape Town, Stockholm and Oslo, alot will be expected of Gehl.

They branded Princes street “unsafe” at night and an “unfriendly” environment during the day.

princes st edinburgh
princes st edinburgh

The Practice have told council chiefs to curb the number of buses on Princes Street and reduce car parking spaces on George Street. They have suggested that pavements should be widened, new cycle lanes created and side streets given over to festival venues under plans to help the heart of the capital better compete with out-of-town shopping centres. Gehl also reccomended that the counciul should relaxe strict planning laws to allow shops and businesses to open later and for cafes, bars and restaurants to be created along Princes Street.

princes st edinburgh
princes st edinburgh

Gehl Architects said that Princes Street in particular had “huge potential” but was being let down by the number of buses allowed to use it, the lack of space for pedestrians and the lack of activity when the shops shut down.

This would allow pedestrians to recolonise the dying urban center making it safer and more welcoming both during the day and at night.

A similar treatment would also greatly improve the pedestrian experience in London’s main shopping street, Oxford Street. This would continue the improvement works which have been completed at the intersection with Regent street. Attempts have been made to improve pedestrian safety in Oxford street. by the exclusion of cars along its length. However, the removal of busses and taxis, which still dominate this streetscape, would be another huge step in the right direction in creating a word class shopping street with the pedestrian at its heart.

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