Case study: Wonderful Copenhagen puts pedestrians first

THE architectural practice advising Edinburgh has been widely credited with transforming the fortunes of Copenhagen, regarded as one of the world's great pedestrianised cities.

Local architect Jan Gehl founded the firm more than 40 years ago, when Copenhagen was notorious for cars, traffic jams and pollution.

Today, it has the longest pedestrianised street in the world, Stroget, and has a claim to be the world's most bike-friendly city.

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Many streets are pedestrian only, while others see pedestrians and cyclists given priority over vehicles.

The city established new bike lanes and extended existing ones. Currently around a third of Copenhageners who work in the city cycle to work. Copenhagen embarked on a major drive to cut the number of parking spaces. About 600 spaces were cut between 1986 and 1996.

Outdoor cafs, public squares, and street performers attract thousands in the summer; while skating rinks, heated benches, and gas heaters on street corners make cold winters enjoyable for townsfolk and tourists.