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Urbanized

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified) returns with the final documentary in his design film trilogy. Urbanized focuses on the design of cities, and features some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, and thinkers including Sir Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Oscar Niemeyer, Amanda Burden, Jan Gehl, Enrique Penalosa, Yung Ho Chang, Alejandro Aravena, Eduardo Paes, Rahul Mehrotra, Ellen Dunham-Jones, james COrner, Bruce Katz, Candy Chang, Edgar Pieterse, Noah Chasin, and many more, including extraordinary citizens who have changed their cities.

Who is allowed to shape our cities, and how do they do it? And how does the design of our cities affect our lives? By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects in dozens of cities around the world, from massive infrastructure initiatives to temporary interventions, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.

DVD Extras:

  • 60 minutes of additional interviews and footage
  • 16 x 9 widescreen presentation
  • 5.1 surround audio
  • English language subtitles
  • Booklet with liner notes by director Gary Hustwit

Product Details

  • Actors: Sir Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Oscar Niemeyer, Amanda Burden, Jan Gehl
  • Directors: Gary Hustwit
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Plexifilm
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2012
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005YFGJ8S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,470 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on February 9, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
The final entry in Gary Hustwit's impressive design film trilogy is aptly entitled "Urbanized." This documentary is a uniquely fascinating look at how urban design across the globe is shaping the future of our cities. In his previous documentary features within this series, he has looked at typography (Helvetica) and every day objects (Objectified) in new and interesting ways. While neither of those films seemed to have a particularly sexy topic (especially typeface!), Hustwit managed to pack both films with surprisingly entertaining stories and unusual facts. "Urbanized" take perhaps the largest theme and gives us a peek at many cities around the world to show how vital planning and design execution has been in dealing with their everyday problems. And while I was never less than captivated by this appealing presentation, the topic was so incredibly broad. As such, the all-encompassing nature of the film causes it to lack focus (or seem to) as we jaunt from country to country tackling incredibly diverse issues.

From tales of overcrowding, to city sprawl, to surface beauty, to functional layouts, to transportation, to public safety, to environmental impact--this is just scratching the surface of the many themes brought up in the film. Each topic is presented in a different city with local personalities (be they architects, planners, politicians, artists, or activists) contributing to whatever the discussion may be. I was genuinely involved in just about every story in the 85 minute film, but even if something might not strike your fancy--just wait a few minutes, and you'll be off to a new destination. I'm not entirely sure that everything was effectively tied into urban design as a cohesive central topic, but the movie was engaging and intelligent and kept my interest.
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Bought this for my son. If you are in the mood for a documentary, it's a good one he said. He really enjoyed it. His favorite segment was about a mayor in South America. It was entertaining and enlightening. Topics include safety, transportation, housing etc. but not education.
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Format: DVD
Urbanized, like Objectified (Hustwit's previous film), is an interesting but diffuse film that takes on too much and fails to communicate a clear message. Maybe Hustwit wants this to be an incomplete conversation starter, but his talent for capturing and arranging fascinating material should be put to better use. Neither film approaches the simple beauty of Helvetica, in which Hustwit addresses a clearly defined topic deftly and succinctly.

I would rather have learned well the complexities facing Detroit OR Rio de Janeiro OR Beijing OR Johannesburg. The film's closing sequence about conflict over a massive redevelopment project in Stuttgart exemplifies the problems Hustwit creates. The footage and interviews are inconclusive, and the final moments about the segment are overlaid with a few lines of type that appear to explain what happened, but those lines actually leave questions just as large as those they answer. The topic simply isn't adequately addressed, and it's unclear what Hustwit meant we should take away from this portion of the film.

Hustwit's general topic seems to have been the difficulty of urban design and the necessity of including the needs of ordinary people in it. But by creating a summary view from 30,000 feet, Hustwit makes it difficult to follow his argument. The film is exquisitely shot and artfully edited, the sound design is right on for a breezy documentary, but Hustwit could have done so much better with the material by focusing on one city. He could have taught much more about urban design with one city as he did about typefaces with Helvetica.
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You don't have to be an urban planner to appreciate what this video has to show you about urban living in a good range of cities on the planet. I like the visuals, the walking discussions, the interviews, and the insights. Well worth watching.
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Format: DVD
"Urbanized" is the third film in Gary Hustwit's Design Trilogy, which examines the design behind things that we rely upon every day, beginning with "Helvetica" (2007), about one of the world's most ubiquitous fonts, followed by "Objectified" (2009), about the industrial design of everyday objects. "Urbanized" looks at the issues that modern urban design must meet in our increasingly populated cities. Urban design is such a complex subject that an 85-minute film can hardly do it justice, so "Urbanized" offers an overview of the challenges and innovative solutions facing the world's cities, whose population is expected to increase by 50% in the next 40 years.

At the beginning of the 20th century, 10% of the world's population lived in cities. At the end of the 20th century, 50% did. In 40 years, it is expected to be 75%. The pace of urbanization has been such that one-third of new urban dwellers live in slums without basic amenities. This clearly presents huge challenges for urban designers, strains resources, and strains people's ability to adapt. "Cities are always the physical manifestations of the big forces at play: economic forces, social forces, environmental forces," as the film says. Urban design is also unique in that it is collaborative, an ongoing project in which architects, developers, government agencies, the public, and various interest groups work with and against each other to create the world in which we live.

"Urbanized" speaks with architects and urban designers on five continents, as it explores issues of housing, transportation, energy consumption, and popular opposition to building projects. Any one of these topics would require its own film to impart an understanding of the issues involved and to look at successful solutions.
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