Documentary claims that architects are
not the solution to urbanisation


Dezeen Wire:
 a feature-length documentary outlining the dangers of poor urban planning and including contributions from leading architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Norman Foster has been released by film director Gary Hustwit.

Urbanized completes Husvit's trilogy of design-related films. Previous instalments Helvetica, an examination of the iconic Swiss typeface and Objectified, which focused on the creative minds behind manufactured objects, were cult hits with viewers working in the creative industries.

This film outlines the challenges that will result from future urban expansion and contraction, and offers insight from those currently involved in the process of ensuring that future cities meet the needs of their occupants.

Following a screening of Urbanized in London, design critic Justin McGuirk of The Guardian praised the film's critical stance on architecture's contribution to urban design, stating: "To its credit, the film is unequivocal that architects – especially starchitects – are not the solution."

The film currently has a limited release (see details here) and will be shown at the Barbican in London from 16 December with a DVD release scheduled for early next year.


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Posted on Wednesday October 26th 2011 at 12:39 pm by Alyn Griffiths. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Duh. Architects can't "solve" anything other than a narrow set of design challenges in front of their faces. Cities are "solved" by teams, groups, societies: politicians, developers, bankers, citizens.

  • Mania

    It would be naive to think that these architects are working autonomously and independently on such projects. Huge design teams are employed to produce urban design schemes, especially ones at the scale of the aforementioned projects. In a way, you are right that all these constituencies make up the city itself, but it is the role of the architect, acting through agency, to research, understand, and organize all the needs/desires of those groups in order to produce a better urban condition. It's also an issue of what's at stake – I can't completely agree that developers, politicians, bankers, whatever "teams" and "groups" mean, have any real stake in the evolution of the city.

  • Nord Wennerstrom

    Charles Birnbaum at The Cultural Landscape Foundation wrote about this for the Huffington Post And, it will likely come up at the Second Wave of Modernism conference November 18 at MoMA

  • guest

    Gary mentioned It will play at the Barbican early December for a week