Top 10 Documentaries For Landscape Architects

Top 10 Documentaries For Landscape Architects

There is a certain persuasion in documentaries that is not often found in books. Sometimes actually seeing, visually dissecting, a narrative can be more inspiring and engaging than words on a page. The documentaries below can be quite different in their style and delivery – what is important however, is that they all seek to explore man’s relationship with his (natural or unnatural) environment. And as a Landscape Architect, it couldn’t hurt to see a few…. Here we take you through 10 of the best documentaries for landscape architects out there, covering topics such as urban design, landscape architecture, sustainable design, biophilia, climate change and urban planning. These are films that will make you think, generate discussion within your own mind and make you question your own design decisions.  Indeed, these are films to watch with colleagues, like minded friends and classmates. Get the popcorn, its movie time! 10. The Big Uneasy  Complete with New Orleans jazz and John Goodman, Harry Shearer looks at what happened when Hurricane Katrina hit the US city. Yet this is NOT a film about a natural disaster. What is revealed is that the flooding was caused by more than four decades of misguided construction and design. At a time where floods are causing trouble world over, and landscape architecture is driven towards WSUDS – this is gripping, damning stuff. Get it HERE! 9. The Age of Stupid This piece of docu-fiction weaves together six documentaries, which are presented by ‘the archivist’ in a tale of hubris and …stupidity. It highlights that climate change and global warming are not just real, but unless true change is made, further consequences will be felt in our lifetime with devastating effects. Get it HERE! 8. The End of Suburbia Cheap and abundant energy is coming to an end – a nation on wheels, a generation of sub-urbanites will have to change. Half of the American population lives in suburbia. Will peak oil reverse globalization? Will a more holistic, localized form of development be the future? Get it HERE! 7. Urbanized Not groundbreaking but this film is generally a good overview of the issues facing cities, and thus the world, as we see the planet become more urbanized. Travelling from Mumbai, to Brasilia, to New York and Germany, different levels of urbanity and urban design are looked at; ranging across large-scale infrastructure to low-level interventions with community involvement. Get it HERE! 6. Edible City: Grow the Revolution There is an ever-increasing need for food to become an intricate part of our landscape. This inspiring documentary not just examines the why, but mainly focuses on established examples of how it is possible to work with nature and our cities in order to produce food for local people. 5. Manufactured Landscapes  Through the photography of Edward Burtynsky, Manufactured Landscapes, provides us with a haunting, though often visually stunning, image of the ’landscapes of our time.’ Burtynsky examines the effect industrialization and manufacturing has on our world and asks if the landscapes of our time are the ones we disrupt in the pursuit of progress? Get it HERE! 4. The Nature of Cities As our world becomes ever more urbanized we must find a way to integrate ourselves within nature in order to maintain our survival. Professor Timothy Beatley travels across America and Europe talking to planners, landscape architects, ecologists and communities. There are some poignant insights offered by Richard Louv (he who coined the term ‘nature-deficit-disorder’) and Dr. Stephen Kellert from Yale (Biophillic Design). 3. Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life  Dr. Stephen Kellert advocates that we designed ourselves in to many of the messes we are presented with today, and thus we can design ourselves out of them. This can be done by biophilic design. The documentary explores how nature and architecture have come together to create hospitals were patient recovery rates are greater and offices where employees are more productive due to a connection with nature and the environment. Get it HERE! 2. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces In this short film, William H. Whyte examines why certain spaces are popular and others not. A seminal piece of work that changed the way our public spaces are designed and built; namely that places should be designed for people. Vitally, it is as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. Get it HERE! 1. A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba  Sick of all the depressing why we should change documentaries? Want an uplifting how to/it is possible one? Then watch this. Curitiba, Brazil has been undergoing major changes since the 1970s in transportation, recycling, affordable housing and implementation of green space. Inspiring and hopeful, a true example of how a determined population and supportive governance can reverse or at least, negate the negative effects of urbanization. Get it HERE! These are a mere ten in a colossal range of documentaries currently depicting the problems society faces; peak oil, flooding, food crises and some that offer hopeful solutions. What is their message? To galvanize us into making a change. What ones motivate you? Article written by Sonia Jackett Return to Homepage Featured image:

This article was originally submitted to Landscape Architects Network

Published in Blog

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