Join Gehl and Gehl Institute this spring in the Bay Area for a three-day intensive course filled with inspiring conversations, workshops, bike tours, and jam sessions, to learn a new approach to designing cities by studying, measuring, and observing public life.

During this masterclass, you will hear from partners and designers at Gehl and Gehl Institute, joined by local Bay Area experts from various fields, on how we can shape the role that design, policy, and governance play in enhancing all scales of the public realm – from the monumental to the everyday, including civic plazas, neighborhood parks, sidewalks, transit stops, and even your workplace. Underlying our approach is the desire to create a more open city in which everyone can access, enjoy, and participate in a vibrant public life.

We have chosen the theme “Intersections” to highlight how public life is a critical aspect of the urban issues we seek to improve, from mobility and housing to resilience and equity. From a human-centered design approach, we will learn how to use a suite of tools that can inform the way we advocate for better urban spaces in our neighborhoods of work, leisure, civic gathering, and everyday life.

Join us along with our partners at Gehl and SPUR to create the change we seek.


Schedule Outline:

Day 1: San Francisco – Introduction to Studying Public Life

Welcome, meet your hosts and each other
“Putting Public Life at the Center,” keynote by Helle Søholt
Learn about the public life tools, developed over the past five decades by Jan Gehl and Gehl the practice
Step into the field with a walkshop on Market Street, San Francisco’s major cultural, commercial, and transit corridor
Enjoy dinner while getting to know each other

Day 2: Oakland – Equity & Resilience: the Role of Public Life

Engage in a panel discussion with local experts on equity and resilience in Oakland
Explore Oakland by bike with a bike tour from City Hall to West Oakland and SPUR’s Oakland office
Public Life and the Human Dimension, a lecture by Ghigo DiTommaso
Apply the tools by studying the city through a public life lens
We will wrap up day two with a Jam Session where we can delve deeper into the Gehl methodology 
Friends & Family Reception

Day 3: San Jose – Public Life and the Future of Work and Mobility

On Day 3 we will make our way to San Jose for a new perspective of the Bay Area
Listen to a dynamic panel discussion on changing government
Learn about the ‘Future of Working’ with a talk and site visit to two corporate campuses
We will close with a final jam session and reflections for turning learning into action



Location & dates

San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, CA, May 21-23, 2018


$2,000 (includes some local transportation, meals, and reception)

$1500 for a limited number of seats reserved for non-profit and government participants

$1000 for a limited number of student slots, open through application. Please send your resume and a letter of interest to by April 21 to apply.


Spots are limited. Reserve yours here