Cities on Film

This series of acclaimed documentary films, presented by Planetizen Courses, explores the evolving ambitions of urban planning, from the prominent figures of history to the contested spaces of the present day.

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

What makes good public spaces work, and why are some public spaces underused? Over the course of this film, William Whyte details insights into seven basic factors of successful public spaces: suitable space, interaction with the street, the sun, food, water, trees, and, finally, a term Whyte calls triangulation, or the ability of a public space to bring people together.

60 Mins
AICP CM
SACPLAN CPD
Film

The Human Scale

The Human Scale juxtaposes the urban experiences of cities across the World to raise questions about the costs of modernity and to argue in favor of city planning that reclaims the public realm for social life. This new approach to planning is measured by walking distances, social interactions, and social inclusion, rather than vehicle speeds and parking spaces.

81 Mins
AICP CM
SACPLAN CPD
Film

Urbanized

The documentary film "Urbanized" debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2011 and succeeds in popularizing a conversation about urbanism, urban planning, and cities in a way that few cultural artifacts have managed before or since.

86 Mins
AICP CM
SACPLAN CPD
Film

Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City

The life and achievements of architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham offer a chance to witness the application of the social agenda of the City Beautiful movement, of which Burnham was one of the most famous practitioners.

58 Mins
AICP CM
Film

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

The 2011 documentary film “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” documents the rapid rise and fall of a housing complex in St. Louis. Pruitt-Igoe became a symbol for the failure of public housing policy in the late 20th century.

84 Mins
AICP CM
Film

City Dreamers

The film "City Dreamers," directed by Joseph Hillel and released in 2018, tells the story of four women designers who worked to shape North American cities throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century.

81 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Lewis Mumford on the City 1: The City - Heaven and Hell

This short documentary film is the first part of a larger series hosted by Lewis Mumford, an American historian, sociologist, philosopher, and literary critic, who wrote the book The City in History on which this film is based. The film originally aired in 1963. This first film in the series uses historic footage from all over the world for a kind of meditative effect, punctuated with Mumford's philosophical observations on the past, present, and future of cities.

Warning: Some graphic images appear in the last third of this film.

29 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Lewis Mumford on the City 2: The City - Cars or People?

This short documentary film is the second part of a larger series hosted by Lewis Mumford, an American historian, sociologist, philosopher, and literary critic whose studies in the 20th century included attention to cities and architecture that persists in influence into the present day.

29 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Lewis Mumford on the City 3: The City and Its Region

This short documentary film is the third part of a larger series hosted by Lewis Mumford, an American historian, sociologist, philosopher, and literary critic whose studies in the 20th century included attention to cities and architecture that influences the study and planning of cities into the present day. This film takes a broader view of cities, expanding to the regional level and warning about the ill effects of the sprawling forms that most U.S. cities took on during the mid-20th century, erasing pastoral landscapes and rural communities and undermining the benefits of cities.

30 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Lewis Mumford on the City 4: The Heart of the City

The "Heart of the City" advocates for the compact, historic centers of cities as places of adventure and culture, which, Mumford warns, are in danger of vanishing. For context and historical perspective, Mumford traces the evolution of cities from the Medieval cities showcased in the third part of the film series, to the Baroque Age, which were shaped by a preoccupation with power and order, and into the 19th century, when commercial forces began to carve up cities in a trend that reached its highest pitch with the massive skyscrapers of the 20th century

29 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Lewis Mumford on the City 5: The City as Man's Home

In this fifth episode of the series, Mumford begins his exploration of the city during a period of rapid transformation during the Industrial Revolution, when old cities grew quickly, new cities sprang up in the countryside, and the wealthy fled to the countryside, neglecting the health and prosperity of those who stayed behind.

31 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Lewis Mumford on the City 6: The City and the Future

This short documentary film is the sixth and final installment of a series hosted by Lewis Mumford, an American historian, sociologist, philosopher, and literary critic, whose studies in the 20th century included attention to cities and architecture that persists in influence into the present day.

29 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Taken For A Ride

The film argues that automobile manufacturers like General Motors deliberately sabotaged streetcar systems through service reductions and fare increases to pursue a program of motorization on its way to becoming one of the largest companies in the world's history.

56 Mins
AICP CM
Film

Getting There

Getting There was produced by planners in New Hampshire to inform other planners of the concepts and benefits of universal design. The big idea illustrated by the film is that a built environment designed with the needs of the visually impaired in mind would be universally accessible for every single member of the community.

58 Mins
AICP CM
Film

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