Masterclasses and Study Tours

The “Tools for Change” masterclass teaches participants how putting public life at the center of design and policy leads to better solutions for mobility, equity, resilience, and overall quality of life.

Our masterclasses attract a broad array of participants, including planners, designers, and public space advocates from around the world. Together, we focus on the value of public life: what it means, how to study it, and how to enhance it for everyone. We hold workshops, hear from experts, and explore the city by foot, bike, and public transit. In addition to providing inspiration with grand visions of what public life can be, the course offers practical tools for achieving short-term and long-term outcomes in your home city.

In Copenhagen, participants learn how the city government, architects, and residents shape the public realm, seeing firsthand how its investments in streets support pedestrians and cyclists, and how the design and governance of neighborhood public spaces foster a spirit of conviviality. From staffed playgrounds to food systems, open courtyards to bike superhighways, and harbor pools to social housing, we study what makes Copenhagen work, as well as the challenges it faces in ensuring a truly inclusive public realm.

In 2018, we held a masterclass in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we looked at how different urban actors across the region (pop. 7 million and growing) are developing new models and solutions for the enhancement of public life. The Bay Area is a complex, confounding, and often inspiring arena to think through the many overlapping issues that are also relevant in participants’ home communities, including equitable mobility, housing affordability, and retrofitting suburbs. We hear from experts in San Francisco, Oakland, and San José to address these topics and much more.

For 2019, we are developing a course that focuses on health and public life, to be held in New York City in June. 

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Study Tours

Gehl Institute also leads private study tours which are akin to the curricula of the masterclass, but can be tailored to the needs of a specific group or topic. We would love to address the interests of your organization with a custom study tour. We have led tours for major foundations in Copenhagen, Malmö, Philadelphia, and the New York region, and would love to work with you in the city of your choosing. Please contact publiclife@gehlinstitute.org for more information.