Sunday, January 15, 2012

Documentary “Urbanized” covers land use themes

Urbanized_photoThose of you looking for a little diversion, or perhaps a land use-related movie for class, might want to check out Gary Hustwit’s great new documentary film, Urbanized (2011), that touches on a number of urban design and land use issues.  It is available online as of this weekend and will be released on DVD February 14.  Those of you in big cities may still be able to catch it in theaters.

In a review in The New York Times, A. O. Scott wrote:

Those of us who live in cities — more than half the world’s population, according to many recent estimates — experience them mainly at eye and street level. Each urban environment has its own character and can therefore seem more like the result of natural processes than of complex human intentions. A city develops organically, through the complex interplay of economics, biology and countless local, individual decisions, but also by means of planning on the part of architects, engineers and politicians.

The mingling of design and happenstance is, to some extent, the deep subject of “Urbanized,” Gary Hustwit’s fascinating, idea-packed new documentary. In this remarkably concise film — which could easily have sprawled to 15 hours on public television — Mr. Hustwit and his crew survey both the challenges and promises facing some of the world’s important cities.

Maybe a good learning tool, and at the very least, a fun diversion!

Stephen Miller

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