The Human Scale
This is a documentary that poses fundamental questions about living and sustainability. The essential point is, how will we retain our humanity in an urbanization of gigacities in the future?
The Human Scale looks at the present and is told in five distinct chapters, each one focusing on a particular city. The 'scale' in question is the measure of happiness and health of people, as compared to the cold and calculated figures of population and size of buildings. The documentary poses that architecture and city planning should primarily consider human beings and frame the construction of the city based on their habits and comfortable habitats.
China is scrutinized for this very reason and once compared to New York, a city that redesigned its main square, it is understandable why. New York transformed its iconic Times Square to allow for more foot traffic, bicycle lanes and seating, removing busy roads almost completely.
Meanwhile in Dhaka, chaos reigns as private cars are being hired and sold in parking lots and rickshaws are banned. Over in Melbourne Australia, architects praise the grid nature of the city and its ingenious use of alleyways, but are concerned over its rapid growth and inflexible infrastructure. Furthermore cookie-cutter suburbs on the outskirts are given a grim outlook as interest points to the city, and these locations will become barely inhabited ghettos in the near future.
Other cities and architects are also brought into the mix, but ultimately as interesting as The Human Scale is it does not come together in a satisfying manner. There are still too many unanswered components of the future that is posed that it does not pursue. Perhaps this is the point as there is some anxiety behind our rapid development, and with that, uncertainty.
If anything, The Human Scale will certainly make for an engaging talking point.