Monday, March 29, 2010

"The Nature of Cities" Documentary

Film Trailer HERE

This evening I saw a film screening of the one hour documentary, "The Nature of Cities," produced by Chuck Davis, a Boulder filmmaker and M.D., who started film production company Throughline Productions. The film aims at how to try to integrate nature into cities, using the U.S. and European examples from Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, Austin, and San Diego. The GWL terrain car free urban eco area of Amersterdam was one example.

Living around natural surroundings also means not having to drive to find nature. The film had an emphasis upon a lesser role of car use in communities and housing, a larger role of bicycle use (filmed 70 mile bike corridor in Copenhagen), more urban gardens, and certainly more use of green plant life in the urban setting, both on rooftops and sides of buildings.

The film features Tim Beatley, University of Virginia professor of urban design with a goal beyond sustainability on to "biophilic," love of life or living systems, attached to nature, and making the quality of life better for human living. Dr. Stephen Kellert, a Yale forestry professor, is also in the film. Since Davis makes films on spirituality, as well, this was an underlying reason for his desire of integrating more green spaces into cities - an innate human spiritual need and overall improved mental health when around nature. The film contained a number of quotes, including some by James Howard Kunstler and Henry David Thoreau.

Since the filmmaker lives here in Boulder, it was rather surprising that he didn't use our city in the film. City planners from all over the world come here to study how we've achieved the extensive trail system and other smart design concepts throughout. Perhaps no other city in the U.S. has as much green belt in and around it.

Chuck Davis has an MFA film degree from the University of Southern California and Throughline productions, which produces films about sociological and spiritual aspects of society, has also produced the films: "Rising the Sparks", "Seasons of the Soul", and "Transforming Energy", a film which is used in schools to help teach about the end of the age of oil.