Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in Urban |

“We know more about the habitats of Snow Leopards than we do about what works best as habitats for human beings.”
From the Danish documentary, “The Human Scale,” released in 2013.

Anyone interested in city planning and urban development will be both entertained and informed by the 1 hour 15 minute documentary, “The Human Scale,” available from Netflix.

The film is about the studies of Danish architect and city planner Jan Gehl as to what urban habitat works best for humans as a species, especially the best design for public squares to make us want to walk and sit in them.  The study of how to make cities more livable will only grow in importance, since already half of the human population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this will increase to 80%.

A particularly interesting insight from the film comes from the rebuilding of Christchurch, New Zealand, following earthquake damage to the city’s core district.  It was found that 6 stories is the maximum optimal height for a condo/apartment building.  Higher than that and the cost of construction must go way up because of the need for a heftier foundation (meaning much higher sales and rental prices).  Plus, people who live near the top of very tall buildings tend to travel outside less because it just is more trouble to get down and outside of the building.

The camera work is mesmerizing of life on the ground in a variety of cities, including:  New York, Melbourne, Copenhagen, and Chongqing, China.  Sure to spark conversation, this is one to put on your “watch” list soon.