butter paper australasia : greaseproof architecture links 2000 - 2014

Sprawling from Grace: The Consequences of Suburbanisation

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United States

This U.S. documentary from 2008, freely available on Youtube, sells the virtues of the New Urban town centre to the general video-watching population. Unfortunately it uses scare tactics to do so. The first two-thirds warns of impending doom in the peak oil sense. It is only after about an hour of this that we get to their solution, which involves lots of footage of street-side cafes and light rail. The doco supports multi-residential developments alongside transit stops, but not really as a positive in itself, more because doing so will relieve the pressures on ailing freeway infrastructure without breaking the bank.

Many talking heads feature, stating the obvious. James Howard Kunstler is interviewed in a particularly garish chair, bringing to the doco some much-needed hard-hitting talk.

Possibly the most interesting thing about this film for me was the credit roll at the end. One donor was the public transport association, and most of the rest were american architectural firms, and even their institute. And that’s exciting to see.


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