08 February 2011

The City - 1939

Commissioned for the 1939 New York World's Fair, "The City" is documentary film that celebrates Greenbelt, Maryland, a New Deal development project, both a reaction to industrial urbanity (overcrowded and filthy) and to sprawl (unregulated and unplanned). Lewis Mumford, who wrote the comments for the film, after showing an idyllic pre-industrial America, brings us to the chaotic, polluted and dangerous industrial city, before explaining his counter-proposal: settlements close to nature with plenty of green space, near to railway lines and highways, where low and middle density buildings are grouped around public functions and work place is reached by foot. If we discard the over simplistic tone that the film required, it is still worth watching, considering that it was shot in '39. The music score by Aaron Copland is just beautiful.

Related posts:
Transportation System: New York 1940s vs. Beijing 2010s
The Changing City - mid 1960s
Urban Renewal: 1955 vs. 2006
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