Urbanized is a feature-length documentary about the design and development of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.
According to the film’s press release, over half the world’s population now lives in an urban area, and 75% will call a city home by 2050. But while some cities are experiencing explosive growth (eg Shanghai), others are shrinking (eg Detroit) and both issues come with many challenges. The need to balance housing, mobility, public space, civic engagement, economic development, and environmental policy are fast becoming universal concerns. Yet much of the dialogue on these issues is disconnected from the public domain.
This film explores who is allowed to shape our cities, and how they do it. Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren’t created by any one specialist or expert. Instead, there are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.
Transport, parking, traffic and congestion are words that appear often in the film, often in a negative context. However, there are some interesting initiatives to look at, such as the “TransMilenio” Bus Rapid Transit System in Bogotá, Colombia (listen to what the city’s mayor has to say) and the High Line project in New York City.
The movie is fascinating and the cinematography compelling. You will find it hard to tear yourself away once you start!