Gary feels that the people who live in cities have just as important a role to play as the professionals who run them and all of the examples he gives from the film are of people taking control of the areas they live in. It just takes one person to start something to improve an area and that can have a huge ripple effect. As John Bird from the Tidy Street Project says people are influenced by what other people are doing.Gary shows projects which begin to turn the idea of ownership on its head. For example in post-industrial Detroit there are community gardens popping up all over the city on public land and Candy Chang of New Orleans is attempting to give a sense of ownership back to the public through projects such as I wish this was… These examples give a great sense of optimism and empowerment that maybe in the future we the people will have more influence on the infrastructure of our neighbourhoods.
Each example Gary shows comes back to one thing – community. These examples must give us hope both for cities and humanity going forward. His closing is a rousing call to action for all designers who he claims have all the tools to help solve urban challenges. He delights in the idea of people setting up “city clubs” where you have to identify a problem in your city, get some friends together and brainstorm a way to fix the problem. On your marks, get set, think …
Filmmaker (New York)
Text: Lynsey Power, Graphic BirdWatching