JEFF RISOM

What I am working on at the moment

I am currently leading our US teams on public realm work in cities across North and South America. Within many of these projects, we are developing and testing tools that measure the social impacts of public life.   We are also focusing on working with cities to approach city-making in a more iterative, holistic, and multi-disciplinary way. I’m working closely with Toronto and Denver on Action Oriented Planning initiatives which aim to not only make a big impact in those cities long-term, but make immediate positive changes at a smaller scale now.

Why I wanted to join the Participatory City GlObal Advisory

Gehl’s work has demonstrated the public realm- streets, plazas, transit systems, libraries & rec centers- has the potential to be a great equalizer for society. It is a place that people of all backgrounds can come together, find common ground, and share experiences that build a stronger community and local culture. Participatory City’s work supports and tests these ideas. The more innovative and thoughtful people we have working to make cities for people, the closer we are to solving some of the most pressing urban challenges of our time.

A little bit about MY background

Since 2014, I have been the managing director of Gehl’s US offices- leading our teams to craft thriving, dynamic public spaces and facilitate new city-making processes via our evidence-based design methodology. I enjoying working on both big strategic moves that will create lasting change in the interaction between people and the city and focusing on the eye-level experience people have when in the public realm.


Last year I helped start Gehl Institute- a US based non-profit research organization that aims to make people, life, & culture a valued part of city-making.