Cities On Speed: a film series on megacities

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 18:25

The emergence of megacities over the last two decades has made it necessary to radically rethink the urbanization process. Vast urban agglomerations, the majority in developing countries and advancing economies, now home to over 50% of the world’s population, face immense economical, social and environmental challenges, but equally they generate opportunities in the these spheres too.

The concentration of population, wealth and power within the networked regions they occupy are, on one hand, the world’s biggest energy consumers, waste producers and polluters where crime, disease and poverty are rife, and on the other, remarkable sites for innovation, creativity, diversity and progress which possess the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Thus, it is fundamental to acquire a deeper understanding of the megacity as a daily urban system in order to harness its positive potential for effective problem solving and to counterbalance its negative impact, this demands a new way of looking at it from both outside and from within.

To this end the Danish Film Institute and the national broadcaster DR commissioned a documentary project entitled Cities On Speed. The project is a series of four films – Bogotà Change, Mumbai Disconnected, Cairo Garbage, Shanghai Space -, selected through a call for submissions, directed by four different filmmakers who tell character-based stories on four of the world’s largest megacities: Bogotá, Cairo, Mumbai and Shanghai.

The filmmakers while free to intepret their story artistically were required to participate in workshops led by architects and urban planners prior to their on-site research work and had to include a local partner in the designated city. These requirements ensured their increased insight on urbanization issues and an insiders vision in its production.

The November issue of FILM magazine is available in pdf version and includes a six page feature Cities On Speed: Megacities Global Visions for an Urban Future with an introduction by BY Lars Movin, interviews with the four directors Nanna Frank Møller, Mikala Krogh, Camilla Nielsson, Frederik Jacobi & Andreas Dalsgaard and a project overview.

Information on the ‘Cities on Speed’ documentaries:

Shanghai is not just a city – it’s an explosion of 4,000 skyscrapers, thousands of miles of highway, millions of citizens and thousands of government planners. Vast communities need to be expropriated to make way for new skyscrapers, roads and industries. The government tries to control it, the citizens try to use it but Shanghai is beyond control.

Previously only 12 million people lived in Cairo and the city was neat and tidy. Today Cairo has a population estimated at 20 million with six giant Garbage Villages that have evolved into towns within the city. Nobody can keep up with the speed at which the city is growing and their garbage piles up in the streets.

Urban planning can be tough in the world’s largest democracy! Mumbai is growing like it was on steroids and a collapsing infrastructure could put an end to economic growth. Public trains are filled to the bursting point, traffic is nearing a complete gridlock. An eight lane high-way is being built out in the sea to try to compensate for the threatening collapse.

In the early 90s, Bogotá was a city with big problems: Social inequality, pollution, out-of-control population growth and poor public transportation. Kidnappings were the order of the day and the city had the world’s highest homicide rates. But unlike other poor megacities, Bogotá found a solution: In 1993 Antana Mockus stepped onto the scene and turned the city into one big social experiment.

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5 Responses to “Cities On Speed: a film series on megacities”

  1. Heather Fenyk says:

    December 7th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

    Via clusterblog » Cities On Speed: a film series on megacities

  2. Heather Fenyk says:

    December 7th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

    Via clusterblog » Cities On Speed: a film series on megacities

  3. Urban Subversion says:

    December 7th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

    RT @tidecats: Via clusterblog » Cities On Speed: a film series on megacities

  4. Anne MAGNUS says:

    December 7th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

  5. Twitted by annemagnus says:

    December 15th, 2009 at %I:%M %p

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