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  • ✪ Rachel Dorothy Tanur Lecture: Jan Gehl, "Livable Cities for the 21st Century"
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Great. I'm so happy to see such a packed and lively auditorium here at Piper. I'm Diane Davis I'm the Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design here at the GSD. And one of the most wonderful aspects of my job is having the opportunity, and indeed being given the honor, to introduce our speaker tonight, Jan Gehl, Professor of Urban Design at the School of Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark and founder of Gehl Architects. I would say that from the vantage point of our profession, particularly the privileged intellectual space where urban planning and urban design meet in synergistic and productive ways, Jan Gehl can be considered a veritable rock star. And I guess the audience lends some reality to that interpretation. So Professor Gehl will be giving the Rachel Dorothy Tanner memorial lecture this evening. Before introducing him, I'd like to share with you a few remarks about Rachel Dorothy Tanner because we could not have found a better person than Professor Gehl to be able to honor the memory of Ms. Tanner, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 43. Rachel Tanner received Bachelor's Degrees in Architecture and City Planning from the University of Maryland, a Master's in Urban Design from Hunter College, and then a law degree from the University of Buffalo. But she also worked for the New York City Planning Commission for some years, a city that figures greatly in some of Professor Gehl's most significant projects for transforming public space. She also cared deeply about people and their lives and was considered an astute observer of living conditions and human interactions, something which inspired her own extensive work as a nonprofessional photographer. She's known to have devoted considerable efforts photographing the interaction of people and the artifacts they used and created in everyday engagements. The concern with the quotidian urban interaction also is a theme that threads through the long and highly celebrated scholarly career and professional practice of Jan Gehl. His path-breaking work on public spaces, urban livability, and the sociability of cities stands at the forefront of contemporary thinking about cities. And his expansive contributions in the form of projects and policy guidelines for streetscapes and neighborhoods serve as inspiration and a point of departure for many practitioners around the globe. He's in great demand by cities large and small here in the US and worldwide, having been involved in a wide array of projects in places as diverse as New York City, Moscow, Melbourne, London, his own Copenhagen, and I think our own neighbor, Somerville, Massachusetts. Professor Gehl earned his BA and MA in Architecture from the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, but unlike many of his peers, has situated much of his teaching and practice since then in the context of grounded, empirical, and observational research, a commitment which began just a few years after leaving architecture school. His first book, titled Life Between Buildings, which came out in 1971, grew out of a research initiative he started several years after leaving architecture school. His principal conclusion was that architects must pay attention, or more attention, to public life in the areas of sociability and where publicity, so to speak, flowers. He concludes that building design must be a means rather than an ends in and of itself, a means to creating more sociable public spaces. With that book and other published works, many of which are now considered classics, Professor Gehl has practically no peer in terms of scholarly contributions and influence in the field of urban design, even as his work has also changed much of the debate in urban planning and architecture. In addition to Life Between Buildings, he's best known for Public Spaces, Public Life, first published in '96 and then again in 2004. In 2008 he wrote New City Spaces, 2010 Cities For People, and his latest work, 2013 How to Study Public Life, all of which have been translated into multiple languages. Given my own prior training in urban sociology, I found the most recent piece of work, How to Study Public Life, path-breaking in terms of introducing new methodologies into architectural practice and design practice, and I'm particularly intrigued by his commitment to training architectural and urban design students how to use ethnographic methods and other skills for understanding the multivarious ways that people use streets and other public spaces. Among the many lines of thinking and practice it he's come to be known for in addition to those embodied in the titles of his books are his focus on gradual transformations, on the distinction between necessary optional and social activity, and his efforts to rethink the uses and potential of space through what I might call an ecotemporal lens, or an appreciation of seasonality, as in his work on winter spaces. Jan Gehl is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Edinburgh. He has been the recipient of the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize for exemplary contributions to town planning and territory development from the International Union of Architects. And in 1998 he received the EDRA Places research award from the Environmental Design Research Association. He's on the editorial board of many important journals. He's done amazing things, and we're going to hear more about them tonight. So it is my distinct pleasure and honor to introduce him to you now. Thank you. Thank you for the very kind introduction. I would like to meet that guy at one point. Good evening, and thank you for inviting me over. I've been here several times, and also here in this school several times. It's a great pleasure to be back. And I have called my presentation tonight "From Jane Jacobs to Livable Cities," and we are going to talk about a period of 55, 56 years for two reasons. One is that this year is the 100-year birthday of Jane Jacobs. And other thing is that this year I've been working in this area for 50 years, and it has given me a number of chances to look back and whatever. But I think I shall start with telling something which I thought was very, very inspiring for me, and sort of put things in place for me. It was at a conference in England where the English architecture critic [inaudible] he lifted some kind of object, and he said, oh, I feel sorry for you architects because your mean of communication, your work, is the still photo and the two-dimensional drawing. And in this way, you focus on form all the time. But this is not architecture. This is sculpture. Architecture is the interplay between this one and life. And only if the interaction between life and sculpt and form becomes successful do we have really great architecture. But the problem now is it's so easy to convey form to each other and to discuss form and put form on the front page of architectural magazines. It's easy to study form. It's much more complicated to study life. And to study the interaction between life and form is even more complicated. That's why so little has been done about this, and so much has been done about that. I feel sorry for you architects. That also helped me to realize what I had been doing through my career so far. That I have been lying on my knees and studying this and this. And I can tell you that at times it's been quite complicated because in great periods, most of my colleagues, they thought I was wasting my time utterly because the real thing was the form, and what I was doing was sort of redundant. Now, that's another story. Let's get started. This one works occasionally. Now it works. OK. My point is that the livable cities has much to do with how we treat people in cities, and I will start right away with Jane Jacobs whose year is 1961. She published her famous book The Life and Death of Great American Cities. Here we are. She published this book. And I'm going first to tell about-- why doesn't this work? Come on now. I'm going to talk about the two old paradigms which really have bothered the second half of the 20th century. The first paradigm is a paradigm of modernism. Good old Corbusier who said that cities are redundant and they are out, and building cities house by house by house is out. Public space is out. What we're going to do now is to do single buildings in parks, and that health, physiological health, is the main thing, and everything should be different. Actually, they threw out everything we knew about good cities. All the experience of hundreds of years of urban habitat was thrown out. They said the modernist, now it's the modern man we are building for, and everything of the old man should be forgotten, and now we have to concentrate on the modern man. And then they built these lovely things here and there. And they were very radical. This is a project for Paris. How Paris could be saved is by taking down Paris and building 24 high-rise buildings where you can sit and look out over all the grass in Paris. But actually, I take 1960 as a really important departure point for modernism because that was the time after the war when the economies were starting really to recover, and where the cities started to grow rather fast. And that was also the time when the old way of planning one house next to the other in the existing streets wouldn't accomplish these peak expansions of the city. And then the planners virtually took off in airplanes and started to plunk down their compositions from a high distance. The site planers were up there in helicopters going around adjusting the buildings. And what happened at that time was that down where the people were, that was completely overlooked. That was completely forgotten. No profession was asked to look after this landscape. We will say that maybe the landscape architects were down on their knees looking after this, but they were not. In all the landscape architecture courses I've come across in the past 50 years, there's never been any much education about people and behavior and social needs. It's been about other things. So the people landscape was forgotten while everybody was flying around putting compositions down like this. I call it the Brazilia syndrome. Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, was the big competition in 1955. And I was in School of Architecture at that time, and that was the big thing. That was Brasilia. We all dreamt about Brasilia, and we learned that it was going to be a fantastic place. And it is a fantastic place. It was where all of the modernistic ideas came together. That was why it was so celebrated at that time. You fly over Brasilia, it's fantastic. It's an eagle, and the head of the eagle is the parliament. How could it be better? And if you fly in a helicopter, you can see the ministries and the monumental buildings of Niemeyer lying side by side alongside enormous parks. From the helicopter, it's excellent. Unfortunately, down where people are, Brasilia is shit. And nobody sort of thought about that they couldn't afford to keep all of the Brazilians, each of them, a helicopter so they could enjoy the wonderful city which Niemeyer and Costa had been making. You can walk endlessly, and it's really boring, and all of these big parks, they're full of illegal steps, just like here in Howard, where people are taking the shorter ways to things. I have, through my studies, become more and more critical about the influence of the modernist and the kind of overlooking the people factor in their work. And I would be frank enough to say that if at any point in history you wanted to hire some professionals to do something which people did not enjoy or like to use and whatever, you should hire some modernists. And they would probably come up with something like this one, where this wonderful bench, which I found some harbor front, where I always thought about that-- imagine a young couple sitting there, sitting there with your girlfriend, and telling her what a wonderful life you are going to create together. Modernists. Just last week I was in Moscow. I'll tell you about Moscow later. But then we walked around Moscow, and suddenly, there was Corbusier. He was a stout Communist, did a few buildings for Stalin, and had a monument in one of the streets. I had the chance to go and tell him gently where he was wrong. But that's another story. The other big paradigm which has really dominated planning in the past 50 years has been, of course the invasion of motor cars. It started out like here, turn of previous century-- people walking peacefully in all directions. There are a few street cars, a single car and a few bicycles, maybe, also. Then the automobiles arrived and it started to change the picture. And then after a while, the car became king and conditions for people became worse and worse. So on one hand, we had a planning paradigm, which really was people unfriendly. On the other hand, we had invasion of a new species which pushed people out of the spaces they used to use. And what has happened in these 50 years is I've noticed, of course, that all cities I know, they have a fantastic transport department staffed with very, very efficient and great traffic engineers who have complete control of the traffic. They count all the cars every year going this way and that way, and they can produce all the statistics to the mayor saying we shall have these many lanes here and there. That is, we have for 50 years-- really, the car invasion had been a major problem, and we have made a lot of work to try to control that invasion, and had all these transport departments, where, of course, the major purpose of the transport department is to make the cars happy. And they have become really happy in many places. But do you know of cities who, at the same time, had a department for people, for public life or pedestrians? Do you know of any cities who have any knowledge about how the people were using their cities? The effect was that that has, throughout these 50 years, more or less been the fact that you knew nothing about people and you knew everything about the motor car. And that, of course, in planning situations, lead you to all the time you knew a lot about cars, and that's what you planned for. People was overlooked. So what was known in 1960, about the influence about people, and about the interaction between form and life worked? Virtually nothing because everything had been thrown out. And we were looking into the brave, new future with modernists doing the buildings and motorists filling the voids. Then came this voice from Greenwich Village, Jane Jacobs, 1961, where she battled with Robert Moses, and she actually said two major things. One is if we let the modernists end the motorists plan this world, it will be the end of the great American cities. We will have dead cities. And the other thing she said very much was look out of the window. See how the life is unfolding on the streets where people are, and learn from it. And see what a fantastic street ballet is going on, and all the virtues of a city. Look out of the windows. Look at the people, and forget about some of the theories. That was part of her groundbreaking book, which will be celebrated in May this year, especially because that's 100 years since she was born. She was fighting with Robert Moses in New York. And Robert Moses was one of the new guys, and he really wanted to save New York by tearing down Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca, and Little Italy, and other redundant areas which were no use in the future so he could get his new Lower Manhattan Lomax Expressway through and have all these high rise buildings lining the Lomax Expressway. Unfortunately, he, in his plan, hit Jane Jacob's house, and that turned out to a bitter fight. And actually, that fight was won by Jane Jacobs. It was not carried through. But Robert Moses has got his way with most of the rest of New York, which was completely filled from wall to wall with motor cars. Talking about the influence of Jane Jacobs, of course she has had a fantastic influence on the mindsets of many, many generations of planners and architects. She was not the one doing projects. She planted some seeds, and it took quite a while for these seeds really to be brought into real life. I'll return to this, Lomax, the one freeway she fought vigorously. I now turn into a very short story of my own life. And I was trained as an architect. I was trained in the '50s, and I was trained as a good modernist. And we were lying on our knees. We were organizing all the objects like this. And bingo-- this is a good city. The big hero was this Swedish professor. Lindstrom, he was called. He said that a good housing area can be recognized by the fact that it looks great from the freeway. And he's doing one of his great housing areas here. I think later on that this was the worst time of city planning ever, but not so in '50s when I was trained. That was a great thing. I rushed out of School of Architecture and was going to do all these great things I have learned in school. Then I married a psychologist. And at once we had all these young psychologists and sociologists, social scientists coming into our house, and all these young architects, and we had a bad time. They kept saying, why are you architects not interested in people? And they said, why don't they teach you anything about people in School of Architecture? And they would say, have you ever thought about the practice of your architecture professors to go out at 4 o'clock in the morning to take the pictures of the buildings so that the students will not be distracted by the people in front of the buildings when you have your lectures? Have you thought about that? We had not. And for a young architect, that was quite a difficult period. But also, the '60s was an interesting period where profession started to open their windows and come together. And my wife and I, we realized that the borderland between architecture-- sociology, and topology, and psychology on one side and planning architecture on the other side, that borderland was really not at all investigated. There was nothing known because everything we knew about that, what was good, could make a good city, was thrown out in the process of all this transformation with the modernists. So we had to start from square one, studying this. What is this? And what happens when it meets this? And what does the form of this mean to the life? In my case, I had to go back to School of Architecture for another 40 years to study what they didn't tell me in the first round. And that was, of course, a very interesting time. And here, what did I do in all these years? I really realize now that I was working all the time in making people visible in the planning and architecture process so that we knew something about what is this, and how is this interaction to be organized? I did a number of books, and at some point, I started to feel some tugs in my sleeves, and that was mayors from all over the world who came and said, you can criticize, but can you please come and tell me what shall we do in our city? And then I started in a small way. And then at some point, there was too much going on at the kitchen table. My wife threw us out. And then we started Gehl Architects, 2000, and we have now been in progress in 16 years and have found that cities from one end of the world to the other are desperately trying to seek information about how to make a better city for people. So now at this point, I would say that we now know quite a few things about what makes a good city. And there is not done enormously much in this borderland between planning architecture and the social sciences, but there is done enough that we feel confident that we know enough to make much better cities now. Here is an overview of some of the things which have been made up there, in the start is actually Jane Jacobs. Down in the corner is one of my books, Cities for People. And looking back over these 50 years, I can clearly see that there has been sort of three centers for this study of this and the interaction. One has been in Berkeley with Appleyard, Alexander, Cooper Marcus, Allan Jacobs, and Peter Bossellmann. One has been in New York with William Whyte and PPS, Project for Public Spaces. And then the third one has been in Copenhagen where for 50 years in the School of Architecture, continuously has been studied this notion of life between buildings, cities for people, and whatever. And so now we know distinctly that we form the cities, but then the cities form us. We know that there is a fantastic inference from the form to the kind of life we live here. We also know in the smaller scale that even down to small things could be a fantastic difference. If I take the best square in the world, in my opinion, one of the most fantastic squares, the Campo in Sienna, and everybody agrees that it's a wonderful square and it's world renown, and it's been there for 800 years, and you think it's a miracle which has happened. But then we have, over these years, developed quite a few tools. One of them is this very basic keyword list of what you should look for to make a good place a good space for people. It's something about protection against the bad things in life, comfort, so that you can stand and sit and talk and see and do and play, whatever. And then there is a number of enjoyment. You should have a good human scale. You should be able to enjoy the good parts of the climate. And then finally, it should also have very positive sense experiences. It should be well-designed, beautiful, good architecture, good details, good materials, plants, water, whatever. Art. All this together is pre-conditions for a good place. If you take this list and go back to a place like Sienna, you will find that for each of the items you look into, you come out with a great resounding yeah. Yes, indeed. And when you come down to is it a beautiful space? Is it good people scale? And is it good materials, good details, good design? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And for many years, many architects thought, if it looks good, it would be good. That's not true. It only is good if all the practical things is also looked after in the same. And then furthermore, it is wonderful to look at. So it scores a high 12. I have found several modern places which, out of 12 possible positive criteria, have scored minus 13, so this kind list it's not very well used. But we know a lot now. And as mentioned by Diane, the latest thing we have is making all the methods we have developed over all these 50 years of studying people-- we have made them put into a book so that everybody could start. And the whole thing is, of course, that by seeing, by really systematically noticing life, you become a much better architect and planner. Then in my old life, I left university when I was ripe. That means when the Danish government throw people out at 70, I had to leave. And then I continued in Gehl Architects to do my research. And then when I thought that everything was fancy and life was just smooth in front of me, they came. We have in Denmark this very stinking rich foundation for the built environment, and they had taken a shine in this human dimension, in architecture and planning. When I was in university, they actually donated great sums so we could set up a research center. We could have a PhD, and we could have a lot of things. And then suddenly, they came again after I retired and said, Jan, we want you to sit down and write down everything you know while you can still remember it. And I said, you realize I'm very, very busy. I haven't got time. But they said, isn't time about how many assistants we will provide you with? And then suddenly I had time. So the book was produced. And this book really is what it was supposed to be. It was sort of a compilation of everything I had been studying and found out, and experiences from cities and whatever through all these years. And it has the same subject as a first book, Life Between Buildings. So I can have this one and Life Between Buildings next to each other. People will say, what is the difference between these buildings? And I can only say 40 years. Because the Life Between Buildings was very much "we have a problem here." And now I do think we have a problem, and also we know what to do about it. So this was published in 2000. And now in 2016, it's out. I think it's more than 30 languages, and we'll reach 35 in a few days. And it's the most unlikely places they are found. Just to mention some-- [inaudible] out in French, it's the first book of mine which is out in French. It's not in France, of course, but it's in Montreal. And they export it to France from Montreal. Also in German, it's come out. After 40 years in German. I'm very proud. Then I was approached by the Greeks. They said, we would like to publish your book. And I said, oh no, no, no no. You have better things to use your money for. And then they said, don't you you worry about the money because the Danish Embassy will pay it all. So it's out in Greece. And it's even out in Danish and in English. And here is the Graduate School of Design in Kazakhstan ready to go with the Kazakh version, which has just come out. After all these 50 years, we definitely now have a new planning paradigm, which is really gaining momentum in cities across the world. So if you ask any mayor today, what is the purpose of your being a mayor here? What will you cite to do? He would say, I'll make a livable and a sustainable and healthy city. If you show them this list, they say, that's my program. We do that. And this is distinctly different from the old program of quantity. Now we have much more a paradigm which concerns about the quality, and also the quality of life, and the sustainability issue, and the health issue. We haven't got all the time in the world, but there is a growing need for people to have good public spaces because our households are smaller and smaller, we live more and more privatized, we have, on the other hand, more and more leisure time. We get older and older. We have all this digital information. But throughout the history of mankind, actually the man as a species is a very social animal, and the greatest interest of man is man. And the greatest city activity is watching other people, as you know. I thought that when you got older you will stop looking after the girls, but that is not the case because throughout life, you will look after interesting and nice things, and that is the number one attraction in cities. That's other people. And what we have found is that with the smaller house and the more spread out and the fewer good public spaces we have, whenever we make a good public space anywhere in the world, people come streaming out to use it because being together with your fellow citizens face-to-face is quite another thing than reading about it or seeing films about it or whatever you do. So we have seen at the same time as a digital thing goes up like here, public life goes up like this, but only if the quality is all right. Because in the old days, people were out in the streets because they had to. Now they're out in the streets when the conditions are nice and the quality is there, so we have to provide the quality. We have two new drivers for this people-oriented city planning. One of the divers is that we have to do much more for sustainability. I'll not go much into this, but, of course, we had the C40. All the mayors of the biggest cities come together to discuss how they could do something more for sustainability in the cities where most of the problems for the climate comes from. Of course, the more we walk and bicycle, the better it is for climate. But if we are to have really competition to automobiles as a mode of mobility and transport, then the public transport has to be much better. And to have a better public transport, you have to have a better public realm so you can walk in dignity and safety to and from your public transportation. We will see in the coming 20 years a real revolution in walking, bicycling, and public transportation and in alternatives to the old Detroit technology front 1905 with everybody giving four rubber wheels, one in each corner, and then that is supposed to be mobility. Mobility in cities of 5 and 10 and 20 million can never be organized with everybody having four rubber wheels. So we will see a complete new way of building cities emerging actually quite quickly. The final-- come on now. Yeah. Then we also have another driver for better cities. That is what is now called "the sitting syndrome." We have, for 50 years, made city planning which invites people to do nothing, where you could do the whole life without ever moving a muscle. You could do driving this and driving that, and you could sit all day behind your computer, and you can sit in the sofa all night with your screens. And that is life. But we've found that this inactivity is a very, very serious problem for the health. And the doctors even now, they diagnose it as spatial syndrome, the sitting syndrome. I just told you, Diane, that my daughter is a prominent cancer research doctor in Denmark. And she told me just a little while ago about this sitting syndrome. That they've found, of course, that if you don't move enough, you have problems with your heart and your circulation, you have problems with diabetes. And the new thing they found is that also cancer is much more prone to attack you if you don't move enough. They had this story about the two cages of mice. One group could run in a wheel and the other could not. And these ones had four or five times more mortality with cancer than the other group of mice. So they knew that there's a combination here to a lot of illnesses based on the fact that you're not moving. I have been told that if you have 1 hour of moderate exercise every day, you can live 7 years longer than the other guys, and you will be much cheaper for society because you will not have to go to doctor and to hospital so much. And foremost, you will have a much better quality of life in your old days. So it's a really win-win situation. And that's why World Health Organization today say in their strategy for world health, we urge all cities to make policies so that people walk and bike as much as possible in their day-to-day doings. It's not about having weekend trails and parks. It should be something which you do every day, and which comes naturally to you so that the first thing you think about. They've also found that the health situation in the suburbs is considerably worse than the health situation in cities because generally, in cities people walk much more than they do in suburbs where they have to drive to everything. So they found a distinct difference in health condition in suburbs and in city centers from one end of the world to the other, which are all very interesting because we built the suburbs and we invited this behavior, which led these people to have the sitting syndrome. Now we have to do something about it. So my own conclusion is that if you look after people in city planning, if you make people-oriented city planning, make good conditions for walking and bicycling actually efficiently, you get a more livable city, more lively city, you get a more sustainable city, and you get a much more healthy city. What can we do now? What do we know? Yeah, that's not really correctly spelled. I'll have to look into this. But what really we have become expert in is improve the existing cities because it's relatively easy to clean out after the car invasion and turn cities which were made for people back into cities for people if you clean up the car thing. So that we have been very proficient to do. And I'll show you some examples. Are there cities now who have this policy, that in this city we will do everything to have people walking and biking as much as possible? Yes, there are. One of them is my home city of Copenhagen. And it has turned completely around from a situation when I started in the '50s to now. They have had people-first policies since '62. It was one of the real pioneers. Already in '62 they started to push back the traffic from the main streets. And just to realize how early that was, that was at the same time when Jane Jacobs sat over here and wrote her book. Actually in Copenhagen, they pushed the cars out. They never did that in. She only stopped something, but they started something. They would not know a thing about Jane Jacobs. They just knew that their city was being overrun by cars, and they pushed them back. And there's all these stories that it could never happen in Denmark. We were not Italians, we were Danes. We're not Italians. It will never work. And then they created the space, and next year, we were Italians. And we have become more and more Italian ever since, for 50 years, and now it's really bad. This is what it's done. Actually, this started in the city of Copenhagen. It was very successful, so it started a long string of improvements. Actually, every year they made something. They made the city a little bit better than it was yesterday. And so this same situation now, if we look at what has been addressed to be better for people, it would look like this in the city center of Copenhagen. And Copenhagen became the first city in the world where systematically the use of the city was studied. It was studied by the School of Architecture. It was part of my research brief. And we studied continuously the development of Copenhagen. And the more the politicians came to know about the effect of what they were doing, that there were more people and they were more happy, and the merchants were more happy, and whatever, whatever, the more eager the politicians became to do more and more. When I retired as a professor I got this letter from the mayor saying, if you guys at School of Architecture had not produced all this documentation about how the city worked for people, we politicians would never have dared to make Copenhagen the most livable city in the world. Now Copenhagen, a long time ago, has taken over from School of Architecture, and now they have a department for people and public spaces. They count all the pedestrians and all the things in the city, and the cultural things, whatever. They do it all now, as every city should. Just as we have always taken great interest in documenting the cars, we should document the life just as well. They do it in Copenhagen now, and it really goes full out. This is not going to be the subject today, but I can see that Copenhagen, who have worked in this area for 50 years, we can really see the development of society in this process. The first wave were to push back the cars and make it possible to walk in the city. The next wave was to make it possible to sit and to enjoy the city, and to have cultural events. And that was a time when all the squares were made and all the cafe tables were put out. Again, we knew that you could never have coffee tables in Copenhagen. The weather was too bad. It started out with 2 months, and then 4 months. Then 11 months, and then the smoking laws, so now they're out 12 months a year. And we have reduced or we have got rid of the winter in just 40 years. And the most recent squares would be like this, where the main emphasis is on exercise and joy, and enjoying yourself and sport, activity, play. And also the architecture is increasingly more playful. And we swim in the harbor because the water is now clean. We can see that the public spaces are changing in character as the society develops, and more and more we have the leisure time society. Copenhagen now has official policy-- we will be the best city for people in the world. And they have a number of goals, and they check every year that the goals are followed. And the main reason why they say that people should come out of their houses and use the public spaces is that they say it's good for society. We need to meet our fellow citizens face-to-face in the public spaces. We need to see what kind of neighborhoods we are living in, what kind of neighbors we have. For democracy it's important, and for social inclusion it's important that we meet and we don't sit at home and look at television or whatever we do. So they have this policy to try to do whatever they can to invite people to come out and enjoy. Also now, which is again interesting, it's not a policy for the city center and where the tourists come. It's a policy which is city wide. It should be a good place for people. The streets all over the city are being transferred from some four- or five-lane city streets to two-lane streets with bicycle lane, street trees, and median because people cross streets wherever they are. They always go across. You can see it out here in these lawns in Howard. People always take the shortest route. They do that, and here they have all these medians, and so it's much more safe to cross streets. And the lower street is much more beautiful. It's much more safe. Very few accidents are there, also. And lo and behold, the lower street can take the same amount of traffic as could the upper street because the traffic engineers are much smarter now with bylanes and turning lanes and all that stuff. So we've seen this transformation of this city. And just to mention one thing-- that is that just to say that pedestrians and bicyclists are just as important as are any driver in a Mercedes. Whenever you have a small street going into a big street, you take the sidewalk and the bike lane across the small street. You narrow the small street, and I thought, gee, that's good. That's to prioritize people walking and bicycling. Great. But then my daughter, she said to me, oh, Papa, it's fantastic. Now we've got all these changes in the streetscape. And now Laura, my granddaughter of 7-- now Laura can walk all the way to school because she can stay on the sidewalk all the way from our door to the school. She doesn't have to cross any streets anymore. That is, for a 7-year-old, a fantastic difference of freedom. So to me, this is very much about humanizing cities. Also in Copenhagen, they've done all this for bicycles. And we'll have to be a little bit quick by now. So they decided rather early that there should be a city wide system of good bicycle lanes. I've seen you in Cambridge, you have started to do quite a bit of this. And in Copenhagen always they are with a curb to the cars and a curb to the sidewalk, and they are for every generation in the population. It really has turned into a transportation system. Every third family with children have a cargo bike, and the kids love much more to go by cargo bike than to be strapped on the rear seat in a car. This is a Copenhagen traffic crossing, where you can see the bicycle crossing and the medians in the streets, and the public transportation. Everything is sorted out right nicely. And it is very safe to bicycle now. The critical point in every bicycle system is the crossings. If you can manage the crossings, you can have a safe system. That means that my grandchildren, from they are 5, they can bicycle all over the city with their parents. And from the time when they're 10, they can bicycle alone from one end of the city to the other. It's safe. So gradually in Copenhagen, we've seen all this, a bicycle culture has developed. Everybody is bicycling. Businessmen and pregnant women and children, whatever. The crown princess bicycling, but not so frequently. But the crown princess do it more frequently with her cargo bike and discreet policeman in the background. In Copenhagen we had serious problems now, and they are congestion problems, and they are congestion problems on the bicycle lanes. It's really, really bad. This paper clipping is from 2002. That's 14 years ago. It was bad 14 years ago, and so what do you do in this situation? You just widen all the bicycle lanes. Where do you get the asphalt from? You take it from the parking and take it from the cars. That is good policy because a bike lane can take five times more people than can a car lane. So if you have enough bicycles, it's good economy to give them the room so that they will not stop bicycling, but maybe more will bicycle. That is a policy which is taken there. And we can just go on and on. They also have a policy-- we'll be the best city in the world for bicycling, and they're close to the mark in strong competition with Amsterdam. And what is this? This is not my grandmother. This is the Danish Minister of Culture. And she was going to be photographed for a series of cultural ministers across Europe, and she should sit in a favorite sofa and read her favorite book. And she came to be giggling, and said, Jan, I took your book. I took the English version so they can see what I'm really interested in. This I take on as an example that this kind of thinking has by now penetrated throughout the society, throughout the country from one end to the other, from the lord mayor to the youngest student. They know that people and public life is very important. Also, this cultural minister, she has changed the architecture policy of Denmark. So now it's not like the previous labor government, something about let's make architecture ready for export or something like that. Now it's put people first in architecture. I'm very proud that these change of mindsets have happened. This is the Danish government, the previous one, I should say, coming up to the queen to have their commissions as ministers. No limousines no more. And no bicycles were stolen that day because they drove up to the guards and said, would you look after our bikes while we go and have this business with the queen? This is a country which I'm proud to be a part of. Have they done this policy in other places? Yes, more and more cities are into this kind of policy. And I will have to be very quick. Melbourne started out in '85. It was an awful city. I knew it because I was visiting professor down there at that time, and it was really boring, and there were offices all over, and there was nobody out there in the evening, nobody out there on the weekends. They decided to turn all this around and invigorate Melbourne. And they had done everything in the book to do it, and they've been tremendously successful. Not that I can go into details today, but just say that Melbourne by far is a nicer city in the southern hemisphere. And if you go to Melbourne, you'll soon pick up that it has a distinct atmosphere of Paris. But the weather is right--w quite a bit better in Melbourne. So Melbourne is really a fantastic city. If you don't know what to do, move to Melbourne. Another city which is full speed into doing the same sort of thing is Sydney. Sydney was famous for many years for having world summits and Olympics and whatever, but actually the quality in the city center was really awful. Now Sydney is full speed doing everything for walking and biking. They had as election, would you like this policy to save the climate of the world? And I think it was 66% of everybody voted for the mayor to go and do this policy. The whole city is full of posters like this one. They haven't done so much, but they're very good in making posters. And it's very important that you tell the people why you are doing these things and what they accomplish by doing these things so it's not against you. It's for the climate and for a better quality city. One of the things they are full speed doing is taking all the traffic out of Main Street and making it into a light rail and pedestrian street. This work has just started, and they're digging up the street in this very moment. If you look at these lists made occasionally by Monocle, you can find that it's very interesting that the cities which have a distinct people-oriented policy like Copenhagen, Melbourne city, Stockholm, Auckland-- they are the ones I know best, Zurich. But also Munich, Vienna, Helsinki, and to some extent Tokyo-- they are on the very top of the livable cities of the world list. I think there's a close connection. Being sweet to people is also making the city quite a bit more livable. Then the story of New York. We also always heard some part of it. But 2007, Michael Bloomberg came out as head of C40 with the mayors of all the cities. And he said, I promise you that New York will be the most sustainable metropole in the world in no time to speak of. That means while I'm still mayor. And I remember that all the employees there at that point, they had a clock on the wall counting back 322 days, 321 days, 320 days. That was the days Bloomberg had left in office, and that was the day where they should accomplish his plan. He had plan for New York, which was really to say that I don't want all these commuting. 1 million cars were commuting to Manhattan every day. They can take the best metro in the world. We can have wider sidewalks, and it's an ideal city for bicycling. It's flat, it's compact, it's wide streets. What are we waiting for? What happened was that shortly after, Janette Sadik-Khan was commissioned as Transport Commissioner. She popped up in Copenhagen with Amanda Burden. We had some great days on bicycles. And interestingly enough, we could not get the bicycle away from the ladies in the night. They just kept on bicycling. Only in the airport were we able to get the bicycles away from these ladies. And they were out there looking at bike lanes and whatever. And in the end, some of them whispered, we want a city like this one. When can we start? And I was quick. I said, let's start on Monday. So they, being American, they started on Monday. And they have done, of course, you know, miracles, great things in New York, in very little time. This enormous bicycle project not only in Manhattan, but also in the other boroughs. And then, of course, in the process of all this work, we started to discuss, but don't you need some good public spaces where people can meet and enjoy New York? And where all the tired people can sit down and enjoy and whatever? And you have here at Times Square, but it's not a square. It's a bloody traffic intersection. And then it was figured out that they didn't need Broadway for traffic. And then we could start to turn the intersections between Broadway and the avenues into people spaces. This is the morning in 2009, and this is the afternoon in 2009. It was very, very quickly that Broadway was transformed. It was done very simply. It was done as an experiment. And the mayor told everybody, don't worry, don't worry. It's just an experiment. Half a year later, he came out and said, experiment? No way. It's one of the biggest successes we've had in New York for 50 years. And they go on with this motif of having recreation in the city. And I'm sure that up in her heaven-- actually, it was still was he was-- I'm not quite sure. But anyway, it was 2009, and she would have enjoyed being there when they turned Broadway at various points into people spaces. Now they're bringing the bisons and the prairie, and I think that it looks very good. So we can start to sing with Frank Sinatra, when you can make it on Broadway. "When you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, New York, New York." And it's been amazing how quickly that transformation has been made. Now they have, I think, 50 squares like Broadway all over the city. They really have this policy-- it should not be for the center of the city, but for the entire 8 million in the city. Somehow in Moscow they heard about New York. If you can make it there, we can make it anywhere. A-ha-- Moscow. And then I gave this talk about what we did in New York in Montreal, and then this little man came galloping up to me speaking Russian as fast as he could. I couldn't. And it appeared that it was the Vice Mayor of Moscow. He said, we need this very quickly in Moscow. We want to humanize Moscow. Can you do it in 12 months? And I said we could start Monday. And then we started in Moscow. They wanted to New Yorkerize Moscow. And actually, they were sick and tired of being completely overrun by cars, and they needed some [inaudible] for getting something started. The city was completely overrun, and sometimes I have this joke that freedom from Communism is the right to park wherever you please. But it was almost like that. All the streets were full of cars, and the pedestrian crossing were the prime parking lots. And it was virtually impossible to move around in Moscow because of all this parking and all this traffic. Here is main street, Moscow, where at some point there was not enough parking, so they just said you can park on the sidewalk. And left for the people in Moscow was 1 meter of sidewalk. They, being even more organized than the Americans, they started by saying, how many books have you written? We'll publish them 3 months time. And they are all published by City of Moscow. That's the seal in the corner. And the man with the worried face there, that's the Danish Ambassador. Then Gehl Architects was commissioned to make a study of Moscow-- what could be done? What was the problem? What was the potential? What could be done? Which we did. And while we were doing this I was invited to come up to talk with the mayor. I said, OK, Sobyanin. And he said, what would be in your report? And I said, yeah, maybe the idea of parking on the sidewalks in main street, Moscow is not the greatest idea ever, so I may mention it in my report that it should be addressed. Then 2 months later I was back in Moscow. There were no cars on the sidewalks because they have very efficient democracy. And then you'll think that the Russians could not really understand these new rules. But mayor had this little gimmick. He goes around and reminds them of the new rules. And rumor has it that the cars are driven straight to Siberia. Yeah, there's an after story to this. Because we did this study, and there was a lot of recommendations, and we were supposed to help them in this, and this, and the other way. And then came this Ukranian something, where European Union didn't want to trade with Russia and Russia didn't want to trade with European Union. So suddenly we heard nothing for 2 and 1/2 years. But we heard rumors that they were full speed doing what we told them to do. And then a month ago I was suddenly invited back by my old friend the Vice Deputy Mayor to a conference, and also he wanted to show me what they've done. And then I had the chance to go back, and it was a miracle what they've done. The parking was more or less sorted out. There were strict rules, and there were lots of these cars going around. The guys I had who took me around, I said, are they fined very heavily? Yeah, they had both experienced this. And they say that whatever your income is, the price to get your car back is one month's of wage, so you remember it for a while. So this is believed to be very efficient. And they had bicycle lanes all over. They have city bikes all over. They had pedestrian streets. They had widened sidewalks. I've never seen a city changing so much in so short a time. New York did it in 6 years. Moscow seems to have done the same thing in 2 years. And they have, of course, been very efficient as you can see. And then you think, this is a very cruel way of doing city planning, but look at what they do in Lithuania, in Vilnius when they park in bike lanes. I know there are some people here from the Cambridge planning office, and maybe you should do the same here because I saw quite a few deliveries or cars parked in the bike lanes which you have put up painstakingly. This is efficient, and this shows that there's a new wind blowing in many, many cities all over the world. This is what I call the miracle of Moscow. These two pictures are taken 1 and 1/2 years between. One time, no space for people. The other time, all the cars are gone. Instead you have seats and planters. Instead of a gray street, you have a green street. And instead of all these silly advertisements, you have none. And you can see Kremlin in the distance. And furthermore, they don't need overcoats anymore, as you can see. A miracle. And they are going on and on. This picture I took a month ago, and this was one I took some 2 years ago, this left one. Same place today is completely different. Fantastic. So now you hope that I am to end my lecture here. And definitely, I am. I almost am. 55 years after Jane Jacobs wrote this book, I would conclude to say that a lot of things have changed in the existing cities. There's really been a political change. They want to have people-oriented cities. They're cleaning up one city after the other, in Kazakhstan and wherever. You think about in China, [inaudible]. It's been a fantastic success. Thank you, Jane, for this inspiration. So that's what we can do. We can clean up in existing structures. I could end here, but I will not. What can we not do? Which is one of the things which I can, as a mature guy, start to think about what have been accomplished, what have not? What we cannot do is make wonderful, people-friendly, new towns. And I can still go around. First, here we can see Life Between Buildings and Jane Jacobs and whatever has happened. And up top is all the wonderful things we can do, and down below is, at the same time, what we do in new towns as if we have known nothing. As if Corbusier and the modernists were still around. So I really see a problem here. All my books are translated into Chinese. I know that they are distributed widely because I've signed most every of them. Took some time. But what worries me mightily is that have not had time to read them yet. And it's still they're doing this kind of stuff over there in great numbers. We can see that this way of planning, which was a modernist way of planning from above and putting down things and making interesting patents, are still around. We can see places like Dubai, which is distinctly modernistic and motoristic. And you can see that my good colleagues, the bird shit architects, are still flying in new towers, which they drop wherever they can drop. And in most cases, they don't do contexts. They will do whatever they are asked to do wherever they can do it. And I think that that is not very flattering for my profession that there are so many things being done just for money. But you can still see the modernist planning syndrome going on here. This is some of the new stuff in St. Petersburg. It's called not Stalinism architecture, but oligarchism architecture. But is this good for people? Is this wonderful? Here is a charming new city in China, and they think it's very charming because they reduced main street from 120 meters to 90 meters. Look how charming it has become. It is very obvious that in all these periods, modernist-- this way of building cities for people have never been popular with the people. They have hated it throughout, and the world is full of cartoons and expressions that this is not really what we dream about. When architects and planners make new towns, they will always do them like this. They would be crawling with happy people having a wonderful life, face-to-face in eye level. And then, still, the places would rather look like this. So you put a lot of people in the drawings, but you should put a lot of energy in making sure that it's becoming wonderful place for people. We know what to do, and this is a fantastic plan of the skyscrapers planned in Addis Ababa and Abyssinia as if it's the most important problem they should address in Addis Ababa. And I will not at all start to talk about people-oriented city planning in the growing world, in the growing cities of the world, because that is a major challenge we do have, of all of them. Making new towns in the developed world is only one irritating problem, but it's not the most widespread. This is what they use their time for. This is Dubai, as if you're more happy to live in a palm-shaped city if you're a child of 4. This is what is being done still. This is wonderful promenade in London. This is nice bench by Rem Koolhaas. So now I finish by saying if you go to restaurant owners all over the world, they know how to do people scale. They know how to make it inviting. They know the importance of human scale and intimacy and all the things because they are dependent on people loving to come there, so they know exactly what to do. They take the trouble to make it people-oriented. If you look at the amusement park around the world, Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Disneyland, they look shit from the air, but down at eye level, they are fantastic. If they are not fantastic, people will not pay good money to get there. So they're sure that it's fantastic where people are. If you-- sorry about this one. If you look at the resort hotel around the world, they also can handle people scale, or people would not come and pay their good money to have holiday in their hotel. The big thing which happened with the modernists was that they started to do the buildings first, buildings and then space, and then perhaps life. That means that they plunked it down, and instead of spaces, it was left over space. And then they looked out of the window to see if there was some life, and generally there was not. In the old days we always did it the other way. We started with the life, then we made the spaces, and then we put the buildings over to the spaces. And that is the way we have to do it to make sure that it's made for people. Other examples-- there are very, very few. We are at the moment in the office writing a book called Great New Towns of the 21st Century. It's the thinnest book you ever saw. We have hardly been able to notice any great new towns from the 21st century. Most of it is not worth writing postcards about. This, however, is one which is made exactly from the spaces to the buildings to the side. It's in Sweden. It's 15 years old. It's very, very sustainable, it's very healthy, and it's very lively and livable. Bo01 1 it's called. Here is one of the streets, which is really for walking and bicycling. And it's such a pleasure to live there. And if you go to a place like this one with the little keyword list I showed you before, you come up, surprisingly, to find that all the issues are well looked after. That's why people love to live there. That's what every new town should be like. I will end-- and now you are very happy that I promised an end-- to invite you to this little area in Copenhagen. It's from the turn of the previous century. It used to be English-inspired, working class row houses. And it's interesting because it's not interesting. You can fly over it and you will see that it's completely boring. You can do a helicopter [inaudible] and it's completely boring. So if you did anything in school of planning in anywhere like this, you'll be thrown not because of lack of imagination and talent for design. So it's completely uninteresting. The interesting thing is, however, that when you go down between the buildings in the spaces, everything you can ask for a good housing environment is there. And then comes the next thing, is that in this area which looks very bad from the air and very bad from the helicopter, we have some of the highest real estate prices in Copenhagen. We have the highest concentration of architect families in Denmark-- they live here. And many of the city planners and the politicians and the prime minister-- they live here. And if you take my little list of good things in the people environment, you will find that all 12 are well looked after here. That's why all these architects love to live there with their children and their grandparents. It's a good place for people. So in conclusion I'll say that what really went bad with the modernism and the motorism was that all sense of human scale was lost. And we have to re-find the ability to handle human scale. If you have only energy to do one scale, don't do the airplane scale or the helicopter scale. Do the people scale because that's by far the most important for the livability of the cities of the 21st century. I wish you good luck with this world, and just would like to end by saying that for children, it's no great thing to make a great city for people. Thank you. Well, we probably have about three. We probably have time for maybe 10, 15 max minutes of questions if there are any buttons from the audience. We can turn the lights on. Thank you so much. I think we have covered the subject rather broadly. Yeah, we've covered the subject. I think we got the point. But let's open the audience. Thank you. Hi, I've been just handed a mic. I have a question about bicycling and bicycle infrastructure. A couple of problems that I see with it as I experience that situation here in Cambridge. On the one hand, if the segregated bicycling lanes are designed well, this can work well. However, there's a question of how much right of way is available, and the questions of supporting public transportation and enhancing public transportation as opposed to developing further development of bicycle infrastructure. First of all, so how do you understand that if you see it as a dilemma? And the second question is, here in Cambridge, the way people ride their bicycles is really horrible for pedestrians. I know many people who feel terrified of the way, the irresponsible way, people ride their bicycles. How do you get at that problem other than just to build segregated bicycle lanes, well-designed, segregated bicycle lanes? What are some of the solutions? I do feel that we could very quickly use the rest of the evening here to go into great detail about how to do bicycle systems. The knowledge to solve all the problems you mention is available. And I have seen in my city how they really made a continuous system which is safe from one end of the city to the other. And the other thing about the criminal bicyclists as you mention-- in my town, 45% of everybody going to work is going now by bicycle. It's gone up every year for 20 years. It's now up to almost half of everybody. And what is characteristic in our city is that it's children from 5 until elderly people in their 80s. They are bicycling side by side. And by having enough old people and children on these bicycle lanes, you slow down the daredevils and the Tour de France people who drive too fast. So it's really a matter of having enough critical mass, and really make it a popular thing to do, the thing to do. And also if there are more of them, they will behave better. Now they will tend to feel that [inaudible] all the time so they can [inaudible] also, some other people. So it is a long process, but it has been done in a number of cities. And I was very impressed today to see how far, actually, Cambridge has come. I realize there's quite a distance to go still, but there were many interesting things I did see. So keep at it, and behave. First may I express my envy that you live where you do and how you do. I'm just back from Europe after long years, and as you showed the squares, I realized how deeply I missed them because you can meet in them, you can demonstrate in them, you can have festivals in them, you can drink in them, you can relax in them. And there is something missing for me here about that kind of space largely. But my question is as there is this refugee situation in Europe, I'm thinking of places like Sweden and Germany which are the desired places to live. Do you have design ideas for the incorporation of this new reality? This is indeed a very complex question. And expressed in my book are the viewpoint that all over the world we are building for Homo sapiens more than we are building for Eskimos or Japanese or Africans because there are so many things which are common. And I have done public spaces in Arab countries and in all parts of the world, and found that it's more or less the same quality criteria. So we can entrust the same quality criteria for work for various cultures. And as I mentioned, I do think that the public space is a very important meeting place of the new Europeans and the existing Europeans, and that to be confident about the new immigrants and the meeting with the existing people, I really think that public space could play a good role where they can just do their things side by side, and have their shops and whatever, meet on a daily basis. So it's not in some camps or whatever. So I have really think that you can also see that the moment there is a dictatorship, they at once start by saying that people are not allowed to meet on the streets anymore. And when the dictatorship goes away, they celebrate that now you can speak with each other again. I really believe in the public space for social inclusion and for democracy, and as a sort of a place where we can meet each other. But I have no easy answers to the refugee influx, which is a great problem in many, many cities because it's too abrupt and too numerous, and I don't really know what to do. And I don't think it's a matter really for urban design other than in generalities. But talking about squares, I was down in Harvard Square, and I was asked, what do you think of Harvard Square? And I said, where is the square? So maybe you could start here. That was the same question we had in New York. There was something called Times Square and we from Europe said, but there's no square there. There is traffic congestion. Couldn't we have a square? And we found out that 10% of all the people who pass through Times Square were in cars, and 90% were on the sidewalks. And the 90% had 10% of the space, and the 10% had 90% of the space. So that was the start of rethinking, maybe we give the 90% more space. And that has worked very well, maybe even too well. No more comments. You were talking about the end about the problem with creating these kind of public spaces in new cities. And a lot of it, I think, has to do with the scale of development and the scale of buildings, not just the streets. I'm just curious if you had any success kind of convincing mayors or developers to kind of scale down buildings and create the kind of buildings that you see-- not the kind of old buildings, but the scale of the old buildings you see in places that have great public spaces like in Copenhagen or other places. Yeah, I was very rash in my criticism. And I showed just one example. I have four or five examples of cities which really go against the modernistic explaining principles and start to build from below and up instead of from up and down. And we could easily spend much more time discussing what are the constraints, because there are constraints of economic and production and the way land ownership, and the conservatism of developers. And I also think that the poor planning, the poor quality of architecture and planning courses around the world when it comes to people is still their knowledge of people issues is still very mediocre, and the focus on the form is still very, very dominant. So I think that my fellow architects are also much to blame, and the planners are much to blame. Many politicians are much more progressive. And definitely ordinary people, they know exactly what they would like. That's what they address in Disneyland and in Tivoli and in the restaurants. So there is a difference here. And I've seen this culture in the School of Architecture in all these years, and there's not much change there, which worries me. And it's fine that they buy my books or whatever, they publish my books, but they have to read them. Maybe that's a good note to end on because you haven't been at the GSD long enough. We're introducing people centrism into our program, and I'm hoping this is just the beginning of conversations that we can have about these issues in the studios and the classroom, in public fora. And so I want to thank you, Jan, for putting it all on the table for us and for such a delightful presentation.


Canadian embassy and official residence

The Canadian Embassy is located at 7-8 Wilton Terrace in Dublin near St Stephen's Green.

The ambassador lives at 22 Oakley Road, Ranelagh a rowhouse in The Triangle area. From 1954 to 2008 the ambassador lived at Strathmore (Killiney).

Canadian High Commissioners to the Irish Free State and the Dominion of Ireland

From 1928 to 1949, while Ireland was a member state of the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Dominion of Canada and the Irish Free State (Dominion of Ireland from 1937 to 1949) exchanged High Commissioners.

High Commissioner Start of Term End of Term
John Hall Kelly December 28, 1929 March 9, 1941 [NB 1][NB 2]
John Doherty Kearney July 31, 1941
Merchant M. Mahoney November 19, 1945 May 4, 1946 [NB 1]
Edward Joseph Garland May 4, 1946 March 19, 1947
Hon. William Ferdinand Alphonse Turgeon October 24, 1946 June 30, 1949 [NB 3]

Canadian ambassadors to the Republic of Ireland

From 1949 onwards, after Ireland left the Commonwealth, Canada and the Republic of Ireland have exchanged Ambassadors.

Ambassador Start of Term End of Term
David Moffat Johnson July 17, 1949 December 1949 [NB 3]
Hon. William Ferdinand Alphonse Turgeon January 23, 1950 April 20, 1955
Joseph Marc Antoine Jean Chapdelaine January 23, 1950 July 17, 1950 [NB 4]
Alfred Rive August 16, 1955 July 7, 1963
Paul Vernon McLane July 7, 1963 March 29, 1965 [NB 4]
Evan William Thistle Gill November 6, 1964 March 22, 1968
James Joachim McCardle October 8, 1968
Harold Morton Maddick May 25, 1972 August 31, 1976
Albert Edgar Ritchie June 29, 1976 November 7, 1980
Alan William Sullivan February 12, 1981
Hon. Edgar J. Benson September 3, 1982
Gustav Gad Rezek 1985 May 12, 1986 [NB 4]
Dennis McDermott January 28, 1986 May 24, 1989
Michael A. Wadsworth August 24, 1989 October 22, 1994
Barry Michael Mawhinney July 12, 1994 October 4, 1996
Michael B. Phillips September 24, 1996 September 11, 1998
Ron Irwin September 4, 1998
William Gusen October 10, 2001 August 1, 2002 [NB 4]
Mark Moher July 2, 2002 August 8, 2006
Christopher William Westdal September 20, 2006 December 7, 2006
Carl Schwenger December 7, 2006 August 30, 2007 [NB 4]
Pat Binns August 30, 2007 November 19, 2010 [NB 5]
Loyola Hearn November 19, 2010 January 19, 2015 [NB 5]
Kevin Vickers January 19, 2015 March 2, 2019 [1][NB 5]


  1. ^ a b c Died in office
  2. ^ a b High Commissioner Kelly is the only Canadian head of mission to be buried in Ireland, where he died in office as High Commissioner.
  3. ^ a b Canada severed its formal association with Ireland[citation needed] on 17 April 1949. The Canadian Embassy in the Republic of Ireland was established on 17 July 1949, with representatives having the rank of Ambassador.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Chargé d'Affaires a.i.
  5. ^ a b c d Ambassadors Binns, Hearn and Vickers are a few Irish-Canadians whom have had the honour of serving in the post.


  1. ^ "Kevin Vickers named ambassador to Ireland". CBC News. 8 January 2015.

See also

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