Sunday, December 28, 2003

Urban Planning

I've just started reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, written in 1961. It's a seminal work in urban planning, which exploded several myths about what made a city successful. I was doing a little background research on the book and came across a review where the reviewer suggested viewing a film stored at the Prelinger Archive, entitled The Dynamic American City. This film was created in the early 1950s by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, and reflects some of the prevailing attitude of the time on urban planning.

I watched it, and the key phrase here is 'urban renewal', a code phrase for bulldozing old neighborhoods, and building high rises and parking lots in their places. There also seems to be a strong support for urban sprawl. Modern-day Los Angeles in the making.

Now I'm better prepared to read the book in the context of it's times.

If that's all too grim for you, you might want to view The Relaxed Wife, which is an educational film on how to manage stress using stretching and relaxation exercises, and if those don't work, Atarax, a tranquilizer produced by Pfizer. I found it pretty amusing, especially after my bout with Lorazepam (curse you Doctor Wynans!). Download it and give it a peek.

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