EARLY WORD: Naked Cities

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NEW YORK TIMES: Urbanized,” the latest design documentary by Gary Hustwit, is the final in an accidental trilogy that includes “Helvetica” (about the ubiquitous typeface) and “Objectified” (about the impact of industrial and product design on commerce and the environment). “Urbanized,” as its title suggests, is about the design of cities. Although other films have surveyed the topic through a longer lens, Hustwit’s is about immediate problems — and some viable solutions. It is a beautifully photographed film, which has the unintended consequence of making the slums of India and the favelas of Brazil appear picturesque. Although we learn that basic services do not exist in places like these, and we are introduced to alternative low-cost housing that alleviates the problem for some inhabitants, the cinematic patchwork of irregularly constructed slums, when compared to the conformist blocks of public housing projects, sends a dubious aesthetic message. […] In “Urbanized,” the shock of how we live in planned and unplanned environs is central to the film and makes it hard not to think of urban development as an evil. But this is not a Michael Moore film. “I think the film has actually made me more optimistic about cities,” Hustwit insisted. He accepts the challenges of accommodating more people in a small space — “whether it’s housing or social equity or dealing with traffic and mobility issues, or sustainability” — but argues that “these issues can only be addressed through the kind of mashup of interests and creativity that cities enable.” MORE

Urbanized will be screened on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6:30pm and 9pm. at Drexel’s Mitchell Auditorium, Bossone Research Center (3140 Market St.). Tickets are $15 and can be purchased HERE.

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