On Tuesday evening 170 people packed into Screen One at Hyde Park Cinema for the first in a series of unique screenings. The diverse audience all shared one curiosity - an interest in making their city more liveable.
A half an hour delay to the evening was caused by the vast amount of people braving the elements and queuing outside the quaint cinema . Once everyone was finally seated David Sim from Gehl Architects took to the stage.
Gehl Architect’s founded by Jan Gehl are based in Copenhagen, they focus on the relationship between the built environment and people’s quality of life. It is this that David Sim, partner at Gehl Architects basis his work and teachings around. His main area of work is master-planning and urban design, collaborating with other professionals in the planning and building process, and applying Jan Gehl’s theories to large-scale projects.
A man that has travelled the world in search of opportunities, allowing him to educate and involve himself in communities in need of help and support. It was incredible opportunity to learn the ways he is able to instill his knowledge on those - in the case of Christchurch, desperate for help. David introduced the ideas behind the film and shared his own experiences with the audience, making it seem more personable and meaningful than watching the film at home.
The film was the main event - The Human Scale provided an excellent depiction of cities from across the world. The theories and ideals that it discussed are all based on Jan Gehl’s teachings and what stood out most was how the film managed to successfully deliver the harsh realities behind cities both new and old. It highlighted the emotional, human struggle that shapes cities and managed to confront you with the notion that the future of cities rely on us. We are the ones who can make change.
A lively question and answer session then followed - a vast range of questions from across the cinema ranging from the conceptual to the legislative, each of which were answered in a very humbling way.
Both David’s stories and the film proved thought provoking and made it obvious to those sat in the audience how we; architects, planners, designers and dreamers can influence the way our cities are developed. No one knows better than the people that use the city daily - and it is this that must be recognised in our planning process.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Culture Vultures and Hyde Park for their efforts in creating an excellent opening evening to a series that we hope will start to shake things up in Leeds long into the future.
The next event will fall on 25th March at Hyde Park Picturehouse once more. It will couple the screening of “Urbanized” with a talk by David Rudlin from URBED, Manchester. This time we promise to arrange a venue so we can carry on the discussion over a few drinks!