studying the city (Annette Koh)

Public space, the right to the city, and civic engagement. How can we improve equity and access through participatory urbanism? Ph.D. student in Urban & Regional Planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Former resident of Seoul & San Francisco.
Recent Tweets @
Posts I Like

“In some ways a suburban city can be understood as an intolerant city. A city that propagates a suburban model is a city that propagates pure private space as opposed to any notion of public space. And when you only advocate private space, you get to the point where people cannot tolerate one another.”
Marc Boutin, architect and professor, University of Calgary on the absence of public space and public encounter in a suburban world.

The directors of Radiant City, Gary Burns and Jim Brown take a wry, full-family mockumentary approach to the issue of suburban sprawl that interlaces the story of one family (kids commenting on the subdivision names “oh this one is named after the farmer who sold the land to the developer I think?”; dad directing the community musical staging of “Suburbia” which includes the lyric phrase “sensible zoning”) with actual urban planners and critics.

Given James Howard Kunstler is in the mix, sprawl comes out looking something like Beelzebub’s droppings or as he put it, the “greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.” Average size of a North American suburban house went from 800 square feet in 1950 (about the footage of my childhood home) to 2266 square feet in 2000.

The film goes beyond Anti-Sprawl 101 to leave you with some very memorable images of what the built environment hath wrought. Full length version viewable at National Film Board Canada