In this feature length film Gary Burns, Canada's king of surreal comedy, joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing to the suburbs. Venturing into territory both familiar and foreign, they turn the documentary genre inside out, crafting a vivid account of life in The Late Suburban Age.
This short documentary features acclaimed author and activist Jane Jacobs' forthright, critical analysis of the problems and virtues of North American cities. Jacobs orients her fascinating observations around Toronto, to which she moved after leaving New York City because Toronto "is a city that still has options ... it hasn't made so many mistakes that it's bound to go downhill.” Her remarks, made in 1971, are prescient yet earnest and will interest all urban stakeholders. This colourful city film, accompanied by an upbeat, jazzy soundtrack, is a must-see for all civic and community groups—indeed, for all urban dwellers worldwide.
This short film explores the problems and potentials of small towns in the Drumheller Valley region of Alberta. Citizen participation in the growth and improvement of the region is encouraged through the Task Force on Urbanization and the Future. However, the Task Force initiative is eventually curtailed, as unemployment and uncertainty enter the picture. The film provides an interesting portrait of a region in socio-economic flux.
This feature-length documentary examines the reality of New York City in the 1970s, a place that had become a symbol of urban disaster. The 2 projects profiled attempt to tackle the problem of America’s biggest city: in a dilapidated part of the Bronx, a co-operative citizens’ movement tries to rejuvenate urban life; and WNET-TV uses its programming as an open forum for the public debate on urban issues.
In this documentary short, Vancouver architect Stanley King demonstrates his method for involving the public in urban design. Called the "draw-in/design-in”, the method is applied to a downtown Vancouver area slated for redevelopment. How can it be made to best serve the needs of the people who will use it? Here, sketches prepared by students and refined by adults are used to guide city planners.
This short documentary studies the contrast between the sedate Toronto of the turn of the century and the thriving, expanding metropolis of 1951. Aerial views give evidence of the conversion of the old Toronto into the new--the city with towering skyscrapers, teeming traffic arteries, vast industrial developments and far-reaching residential areas housing over a million people.
Toronto's mid-century progress is also Canada's, as manifested in the building of Canada's first subway, and in the bustle of the nation's greatest trading centre--the Toronto Stock Exchange.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. This episode presents an outline of the opposed natures—creative and destructive—of the city throughout history. In this film, the focus is on the elements that created the first cities about 5000 years ago, and the forces that now threaten our "most precious collective invention."
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. This episode presents a study of the growing sterility, dullness and congestion that is destroying the vitality, variety and breadth that once made cities physically attractive and humanly creative.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. In this episode, Mumford considers the “loss of vitality” that he perceives in contemporary cities that have become crowded and resulted in suburban flight. “The overfilled urban container has burst,” he proclaims. What will become of the faceless, formless contemporary city? This mid-20th century film is a prescient look at today’s urban landscapes.
This documentary presents a before-and-after picture of people in a large-scale public housing project in Toronto. Due to a housing shortage, they were forced to live in squalid, dingy flats and ramshackle dwellings on a crowded street in Regent Park North; now they have access to new, modern housing developments designed to offer them privacy, light and space.
This documentary examines the history and current reality of Toronto’s Flemingdon Park. Now a subsidized housing project, it was built in 1961 as a trendy urban utopia. A decade later it was sold, and Flemingdon became home to refugees and new immigrants. Once a model of urban planning, Flemingdon Park's flip side is a history of violence and racism that residents have fought to overcome. Yet despite challenges, the community succeeds in making people from around the world feel at home in a different kind of utopia–one where differences are celebrated and new visions are possible.
This short documentary is part of a series hosted by American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford, who was particularly noted for his study of cities and urban architecture. This episode presents a study of an old but still-growing problem: how to ensure the city is accessible to all without allowing cars to make it congested and uninhabitable.