This film documents a community's struggle to survive in the face of government indifference and the political and financial clout of industrial developers. In 1953 the residents of Bridgeview, British Columbia, were promised sewers; following years of debate, frustration, meetings and verbiage, construction started in 1977. The film interviews some of the residents, who state their opinions frankly both to the camera and at meetings. When the film was shown at the Habitat conference in Vancouver, 1976, press coverage noted: "The Third World is merely twenty miles from the site of Habitat."
This short film is a series of vignettes of life in Saint-Henri, a Montreal working-class district, on the first day of school. From dawn to midnight, we take in the neighbourhood’s pulse: a mother fussing over children, a father's enforced idleness, teenage boys clowning, young lovers dallying - the unposed quality of daily life.
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.
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 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 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 short film was an experiment in using video recordings and closed circuit television to stimulate social action in a poor Montreal neighbourhood. A citizen's committee filmed people's concerns and then played back the tapes for the community. Upon recognizing their common problems, people began to talk about joint solutions. It proved an important and effective method of promoting social change.
This documentary is a portrait of Point St. Charles, one of Montreal’s notoriously bleak neighbourhoods. Many of the residents are English-speaking and of Irish origin; many of them are also on welfare. Considered to be one of the toughest districts in all of Canada, Point St. Charles is poor in terms of community facilities, but still full of rich contrasts and high spirits – that is, most of the time.
This feature documentary takes a look at how the Halifax/Dartmouth community in Nova Scotia was stimulated by a week-long session held by a panel of specialists from different fields who met with members of this urban community to consider the future of the area and the responsibility of the citizens and government in planning the future.
This feature documentary presents a thoughtful and vivid portrait of a community facing imposed relocation. At the centre of the story is a remarkably astute and luminous 12-year-old black girl whose poignant observations about life, the soul, and the power of art give voice to those rarely heard in society. Unarmed Verses is a cinematic rendering of our universal need for self-expression and belonging.
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.