Film: Human Scale, The (2012)

May 30, 2013 | By

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Film: Very Good/ DVD Transfer:  n/a / DVD Extras: n/a

Label: n/a/ Region: n/a / Released: n/a

Genre: Documentary / Urban Planning / Architecture /Hot Docs 2013

Synopsis: Persuavive documentary on architectural ethnographer Jan Gehl and the movement to restore life to big city dead zones after decades of bad urban planning.

Special Features: n/a

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Review:

“There is nothing to fear from growth; you only fear unplanned growth.”

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Writer / director Andreas Dalsgaard meticulously shows how self-described architectural ethnographer Jan Gehl has used his native Copenhagen as a model of urban planning and a working template for cities with ailing, depopulated, car-centric downtown cores, and throughout the doc’s first two-thirds we’re shown how affected cities like New York, Chongqing, and Melbourne reinvigorated dead zones into functioning social and economic centres.

Le Corbusier’s brand of urban planning – where leisure and work activities are restricted to physically disparate locales – is a key villain in The Human Scale, and the doc’s final third offers up two affecting case studies: the messed up, over-populated, World Bank funded schemes pushing Dhaka past the point of no return; and Christchurch, with its earthquake ravaged downtown core that must be redesigned and rebuilt from scratch.

Dalsgaard could’ve made a shrill, anti-car rallying cry for change, but instead we’re shown sane arguments with solutions whose tangibility is restricted only by bad governance, bad habits, and narrow minds.

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© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB Hot Docs 2013 Entry

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