urbanism documentaries

by j_ranse | created - 28 Nov 2013 | updated - 28 Nov 2013 | Public

Cities living is the future of the human race. Done well, cities can be the most efficient means of delivering high quality of life. Done poorly, cities can result in significant social, economic and environmental problems. These documentaries cover issues relating to global urbanization.

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1. The Human Scale (2012)

83 min | Documentary, News

50 Metascore

Half of the human population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this will increase to 80%. Life in a megacity is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face peak oil, climate change, ... See full summary »

Director: Andreas Dalsgaard | Stars: Jan Gehl, Rob Adams, Robert Doyle, Lars Gemzøe

Votes: 667

2. Urbanized (2011)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary

A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.

Director: Gary Hustwit | Stars: Rem Koolhaas, Jan Gehl, Ricardo Scofidio, Norman Foster

Votes: 1,958

3. The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream (2004)

Not Rated | 78 min | Documentary, War

The modern suburbs have ultimately become an unsustainable way of living. They were originally developed in an era of cheap oil, when the automobile became the center of the way people ... See full summary »

Director: Gregory Greene | Stars: Barrie Zwicker, James Howard Kunstler, Peter Calthorpe, Michael Klare

Votes: 978

4. Escape from Suburbia: Beyond the American Dream (2007 Video)


Gregory Greene address the coming energy crisis caused by peak oil. He outlines potential solutions with interviews with individuals from across the continent who were brave enough to challenge their communities toward change.

Director: Gregory Greene | Stars: Ed Schreyer, Matthew Simmons, Richard Heinberg, Michael Ruppert

Votes: 75

5. Radiant City (2006)

93 min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama

60 Metascore

An examination of the nature of modern suburbia.

Directors: Jim Brown, Gary Burns | Stars: Daniel Jeffery, Bob Legare, Jane MacFarlane, Ashleigh Fidyk

Votes: 460

6. Sprawling from Grace (2008)

82 min | Documentary

With more than 250 million cars and trucks on the road and the demand for oil out pacing the Earth's ability to supply it, have we now become slaves to this unsustainable freedom?

Director: David M. Edwards | Stars: Thomas S. Ahlbrandt, Justin Barr, Dena Belzer, George W. Bush

Votes: 62

7. A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba, Brazil (2006 Video)

Not Rated | 52 min | Documentary

There is hope! This inspirational documentary shows a city where urban solutions are not just theory, but a reality. The film shows innovations in the areas of transportation, recycling, ... See full summary »

Director: Giovanni Vaz Del Bello | Stars: Jaime Lerner, Cassio Taniguchi, Nicolau Klüppel, Carlos Ceneviva

Votes: 24

8. Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (1980)

58 min | Documentary

This highly influential film in architecture and planning circles by William H. Whyte analyzes the success and failures of urban spaces. Observing the natural order of spaces and the way ... See full summary »

Director: William H. Whyte | Star: William H. Whyte

Votes: 137

9. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011)

Not Rated | 79 min | Documentary

70 Metascore

Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure amongst architects, politicians and policy makers. ... See full summary »

Director: Chad Freidrichs | Stars: Slyvester Brown, Irvin Dagen, Elmer Fiedler, Robert Fishman

Votes: 769 | Gross: $0.04M

10. The Secret Life of Buildings (2011– )


A look at how architecture affects the way we feel. According to Architectural historian Tom Dyckhoff, we have hard-wired desires about what we expect from the spaces we inhabit. These ... See full summary »

Stars: Tom Dyckhoff, Alex Bellos, Astrid Buddelmeijer, Alvaro Campo

Votes: 18

11. The Perfect Home (2006– )

125 min | Documentary

A look at how our environment and the perfect home can philosophically affect our happiness, and how innovative architecture can contribute to the perfect home.

Star: Alain de Botton

Votes: 39

12. e2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious (2006– )


A six-part series about international efforts to design and build eco-friendly structures through sustainable architecture.

Stars: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, William McDonough, Jeroen Bergsma

Votes: 72

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