Urbanized (2011) Gary Hustwit

Friday, June 22, 2012

from the website
This is not the first of Gary Hustwit's documentaries that I have watched. Last month I watched the first of the trilogy, Helvetica. Unfortunately the second in the series was not available at uni, so I had to move onto the third and last of the trilogy: Urbanized.

As the title suggests, the 85-minute documentary is about urban design - the design of cities, how it impacts the lives of its citizens, and, in turn, how these residents influence the design, as well. 

As my home town Christchurch is planning to rebuild its earthquake devastated city, I have naturally become more interested city planning. Despite the current sad state of the city, I am optimistic about the new opportunities Christchurch will gain as a result. Maybe it is in naivety and idealistic nature, and I hope I won't be disappointed with the end result... Which will not be in the too near a future...

What kind of a city would I like Christchurch to re-liven up to be?

A walkable and compact city with connected, close-knit communities. I loved how in Paris I was able to get around everywhere on my feet. It was healthy and enjoyable. Unfortunately I don't get the same pleasures in Auckland, where everything is so spread out.

As well as being able to walk between places, my ideal city would be bike friendly, even for beginners like myself. I have not been biking for a long time because I am just so scared to share lanes with cars. It's tiring for my legs because I always feel like I have to compete with their speed! But some of my biking experiences have been the most memorable adventures ever. There should be more bike only lanes in place. Apparently in Denmark, the bike lanes are separated from the cars by parked cars in between. I'd definitely feel safer with the added barrier and distance from the fast moving cars.

I'd still very much like my home town to live up to its title as New Zealand's 'Garden City'. It'd be nice to have more green spaces in the city centre, farmers' markets, and more community garden projects. There are a few here in Auckland, and I know there are already existing ones in Christchurch as well, but more of them, please!

Also, more of: cool cafes and restaurants, nightlife, music and cultural scenes, children friendly places, old people friendly places...

As would be ideal in any cities. I found that most of these ideas have already been taken into account by the council. Which is good news! The only downside is the money and time needed...

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