Danish architect and city planner Jan Gel has arrived in Riga – an important authority among urban planners around the world, known for his philanthropic urban philosophy. It is expected that the future development of the Latvian capital will be planned in collaboration with it. A memorandum of understanding was signed on Friday 24 August. However, this is not the first time of collaboration with the architect – previously his recommendations were not heard in many ways.
The city must be human. This is the opinion of the well-known urban designer Gel, with whom he also came to Riga. In many places, mobility options are subordinate to cars, but practice shows that it is not good.
"When we look at life-friendly cities, you see an interesting relationship that has done a lot for people, cyclists and pedestrians.
And you see that there are three cities in Scandinavia, three in Australia and New Zealand in the list of cities. And I think we might be ahead of Riga and Riga, that could take its place ", said the architect and the city planner.
The intention is that Gel will work with Riga in the coming years to find the best solutions, and gel-boards are needed to prevent errors.
"Let us hurry to think in a street on a bike path, where it does not have to be, or just the opposite, not to lay a cycle path where it should be.
Any mistake in the development of the urban environment is very expensive, "said Armands Krūze, acting director of urban development in the city of Riga.
Admittedly, in 2001 the Gela consultancy firm carried out a study into the urban environment of the city center and the public outdoor area.
Many of his suggestions, however, remained on paper. Moreover, according to the Organization for the City of Man, it is quite contrary to Gael's ideas.
The tunnels have been refurbished and built, although they are less comfortable for the population, such as the transition. Also, after the renovation in the Brivibas street, there are now four bands instead of four, which means that there is more intensive car traffic. It is more dangerous for cyclists, they go to the sidewalks, which in turn disturbs the pedestrians.
"A lot of things happen in the city, it's already a story about changing thinking, it's not that Jan Gel arrives and he will be the bearer of happiness that all our work will do, cars and nothing changed, "says architect Oto Ozols, representative of the City of People organization.
As will become clear, next spring, when the leadership of the city council will promise the first plans for change.