New Urbanism 101: The New Reality that a Film Festival Helps to Explain

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New Urbanism neophytes, as well as seasoned adherents, will find much to stimulate them at the upcoming 3rd annual New Urbanism Film Festival (NUFF), which runs from October 8-11 at the Acme Theater, 135 N La Brea Ave.

In an exclusive announcement to the Larchmont Buzz, Festival Director Josh Paget has announced the films for this year’s festival. They cover a broad range of topics including Architecture, Bicycling, Economic Development, Healthy Cities, Street Art, Tactical Urbanism, Urban Design, and Walkability.

Paget says “we have about 8 different categories from architecture to urban farming. But all of them, no matter the category, help us discover how the built environment relates to us as people. What’s attractive to me about the New Urbanism is that it takes on a role of advocate. Narrowing streets is not just an aesthetic preference, but a moral value: it makes it safer for kids, increases physical health, boosts local economy, etc.  Whereas before things like small blocks, walkable neighborhoods were built out of necessity, we’ve gone beyond that capability…and now that we have built a range of options for the living conditions of humans, we can look at this method and say this was the right one.”

The concept of “New Urbanism” was born as people began a reverse flow from the suburbs back into the cities. Cars sent them to the suburbs by the  millions…but traffic congestion and densely packed freeways now have many returning to the cities.  There, they find a more manageable lifestyle that includes neighborhoods with walkability and connectivity, transit corridors to help them move about, a diverse mix of shops, offices, apartments, and mixed housing that reflects quality architecture and urban design, and traditional neighborhood structures.

Paget’s own interest in New Urbanism was born in Larchmont Village: a nativity that caught his imagination as a neophyte urban planner who noticed Larchmont Village was unique.

“Larchmont Village is what got me interested in urban planning. Because I saw that and compared it to La Brea and asked why they were different,” says Paget. “I found out that it wasn’t by accident, but by people making consistent decisions based on a vision for their neighborhood. I wanted to know more about that process. That curiosity is what first led me to reading about new urbanism and getting involved in the movement for neighborhood development.”

And that interest led him to curate the New Urbanism Film Festival, where he can share the ideas of movement with others who are curious, too.

This year’s films:

“Can You Dig This?” follows the inspirational journeys of four unlikely gardeners, discovering what happens when they put their hands in the soil.  This is not a story of science and economics.  It is a story of the human spirit, inspiring people everywhere to pick up their shovels, transform their neighborhoods and change their own lives in the process.

“East L.A. Interchange” is a documentary investigating how the freeways – a symbol of Los Angeles ingrained in America’s popular imagination – impact Boyle Heights’ residents: literally, as an environmental hazard and structural blockade…and figuratively, as a conversational interchange about why the future of their beloved community should matter to us all.

“Lutah: A Passion for Architecture, A Life of Design” explores the life of remarkably versatile architect Lutah Maria Riggs, who left an impressive legacy and brought a freshness to the established architectural styles of Southern California.

“Spoke” tells of an adventure that empowers users of the humble bicycle, chronicling the journey of three young commuter cyclists who set out to bike from San Francisco to Orlando, interviewing crash victims, urban planners, activists and law enforcement officials.

“Aftermass: Bicycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland” is the first feature documentary to explore the events, people, politics, and social changes that led to Portland becoming the first major bicycle city in the United States. The film provides new and vital insights into Portland’s transportation history as well as into paths other cities can follow to healthy planning and a green future.

“Our Food Chain” documents through the eyes of school administrators, physicians, teachers, farmers, students, food activists and politicians, the revolution of improving the nutritional content of school meals in the Los Angeles school district. The subjects have come together with the idea of disrupting what our children are fed in schools and have helped create a new paradigm.

There will also be five screenings of short films which will be announced (along with the final schedule for all films) on September 1st.

So if you ever wonder where you belong in the changing landscape of a world rushing by at a pace that may be just a skip ahead of you…or if you notice that others may seem more connected to the new realities of growth and development, global warming and down-sizing, and are talking about engaging environmental and lifestyle topics you know very little about, then we invite you to be part of the conversation.  Attend the New Urbanism Film Festival, stay tuned to the Larchmont Buzz for more on the subject, and learn why New Urbanism is the new reality.

3rd Annual New Urbanism Film Festival
October 8-11, 2015
Acme Theater
135 N La Brea Ave LA CA 90036
Additional information is available at www.NewUrbanismFilmFestival.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Tim Deegan

Tim Deegan is a longtime resident and community leader in the Miracle Mile, who has served as board chair at the Mid City West Community Council, and on the board of the Miracle Mile Civic Coalition. Tim can be reached at timdeegan2015@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “New Urbanism 101: The New Reality that a Film Festival Helps to Explain

  1. There are so many nuggets packed into this article, I’m not sure where to begin. Let me first say “Thank you” to Mr. Deegan for sharing some great information about an event that is timely, interesting and so visionary in many ways. As I found myself reading through the brief synopses of film’s slated to participate in this year’s “NUFF”, I couldn’t help but become genuinely excited and beginning to anticipate the Sept. 1st date, when they’ll be publishing the presentation schedule.

    Having a venue such as NUFF, that’s going to provide an opportunity to get some healthy conversation and ideas going on a topic such as “The New Urbanism” is hugely valuable. I hear so often from people in my own social circle as well as folks just visiting the area, that Los Angeles feels detached, disconnected and even sometimes unwelcoming. I’ve lived here all my life and would like to cast a more hopeful outlook and it seems that Josh Paget, the festival’s director, may share some hope of seeing a new interconnectedness starting to blossom in parts of our city too. Exciting indeed.

    Thanks again, to Tim Deegan for his solid writing and selection of positive, thoughtful, topics!

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