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  HOME | Uruguay

Uruguay's Capital Seeks Right Mix of Cars, Pedestrians, Bicycles

MONTEVIDEO - Danish architect Jan Gehl will work to achieve in Montevideo a balance among "pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicles" similar to the mixes he designed for London and New York, the acclaimed urban planner told EFE on Monday.

Gehl, who is visiting the Uruguayan capital as part of the Inter-American Development Bank's Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative, spoke to EFE before delivering a lecture on Cities for the People.

Montevideo, he said, is a "fantastic" city, reminiscent of Oslo or Sydney, with green spaces, a seaside location and construction on a human scale.

A good point of departure for his work here would be "to achieve the necessary ... balance among pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicles," Gehl said. "Every day there's more traffic and each day is worse than the day before."

"And, if things have changed in other cities, why not here?," he said, adding that he is interested in improving urban quality of life because he "likes people more than architecture."

Gehl's team will work for five months with the Montevideo municipal government, the Inter-American Development Bank, or IDB, said in a statement.

"We will focus during five months on a pilot experiment on Avenida 18 de Julio" - Montevideo's main thoroughfare - "with the idea that it can be transplanted later to other places in the city," the IDB's Veronica Adler said.

Gehl, known for his work transforming New York's Times Square, said he plans to apply in Montevideo the same strategy he employed in Melbourne, London and Moscow.

"And it works," he said.
 

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