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The Human Scale

Earlier today I stumbled upon a documentary called “The Human Scale.”  I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m planning to rent it from iTunes later this weekend. Here’s the trailer. Click here if you can’t see it below.

One of the things that’s so fascinating about studying cities right now, is that it feels as if we’re at a major turning point with respect to how we think about them. We’re coming off a long period (decades) of infatuation with the car, where planners and engineers predominately cared about one thing and one thing only: efficiently moving cars in and around cities.

But having now fully built out cities around the car, we’ve come to realize two important things. First, that it’s virtually impossible to keep up with the demands of the car. No matter how many highways and roads you build, there always seems to be gridlock. And second, by focusing so closely on the car, we’ve built cities that aren’t great places for people.

If you take a look at this short clip from The Human Scale (featuring Siena, Italy), I think you’ll immediately see how differently we used to build our cities and how disruptive the car has been to them. 

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