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It Your City, Have Your Say: ‘The Human Scale’ (2012)

The Human Scale is a film that needs to be seen by every human. It deals with urbanization and the effect it has and will have in the near future. Most people who are not urban design professionals, students or teacher do not realize the effects urban environment has on a city. Director Andreas Dalsgaard brilliantly weaves through Chongqing in China, Dhaka in Bangladesh, New York in America, Copenhagen in  Denmark and  Christchurch, New Zealand. He focuses on challenges and gives solutions to the urban design problems faced by each of the city.  We need to be aware of the decisions made for us that affect our city. Some decisions can affect the city negatively and some positively and is divided as such below.

Negatives

In Chongqing, China planners designed a pedestrian through the city giving priority to humans. However during a routine inspection the pedestrian-friendly crossing had been converted to car traffic area. A decision made by the local authorities. On the other hand Bangladesh growing economy is leading to increase in the number of vehicles, which leads to highways. With a small percentage dedicated to improve the public transportation, city’s traffic problems are peaking. With roads filled with parked cars due to lack of proper parking, traffic is a daily problem. This might eventually lead to roads being completely blocked with cars.

Positives

New York City’s transformation of Times Square to public open spaces from a traffic engrossed area is well received. People embrace this new-found space and cherish it and soon become a sightseeing area.  With no-traffic zones and preference of bicycles over cars,Copenhagen is perhaps the best example. The city is enjoying less traffic and more efficient environments. City embraces its new-found love for bicycles, primary example being 8 Housing in Copenhagen, where bicycle ramps go up to the top story of the complex. Lastly Christchurch’s residents in New Zealand are given a choice to have their say in the redesigning of their city post 2011 earthquakes. They say that the city is ” at a tipping point between becoming L.A. or becoming Copenhagen,” as city is redesigned with inputs from the locals.

What really stood out to me was the fact that the documentary does not talk about a futuristic world, it talks about the world today and what it will be like in the next 5 years. Negatives can be turned into positives if more people voice their opinions. Last things that China and Bangladesh needs is more cars and more pollution. Negatives or positives, its humans that have to dwell in these spaces, so everyone needs to be made aware. I certainly learned a lot from this documentary and wanted to share my experience. We should be involved in planing of the city because that affects the country, countries make up this world and we cannot afford to plan this world imperfectly because that’s the only one we have.