space. body. politics.

Posts tagged “FILM

Rapid Urbanization in Istanbul: Ekümenopolis.

Posted on 2013/04/22

After London and Moscow, Istanbul with its nearby 15 million inhabitants, is the third largest city in Europe and makes up the biggest city in Turkey with 20% of the country`s population. Istanbul`s rapid urbanization and its neoliberal transformation, that shifted planning priorities, are discussed in the documentary Ecümenopolis: City without limits *, directed by İmre Azem. The film does not only focus on issues around transportation challenges, which have arose due to the city`s urbanization throughout the last years, but also questions the transformation process and its dynamics. Interviews with experts, academics, writers, investors, city-dwellers and community leaders make the film become a holistic experience.

[...] The neoliberal transformation that swept through the world economy during the 1980’s, and along with it the globalization process that picked up speed, brought with it a deep transformation in cities all over the world. For this new finance-centered economic structure, urban land became a tool for capital accumulation, which had deep effects on major cities of developing countries. In Istanbul, which already lacked a tradition of principled  planning, the administrators of the city blindly adopted the neoliberal approach that put financial gain ahead of people’s needs; everyone fought to get a piece of the loot; and the result is a megashantytown of 15 million struggling with mesh of life-threatening problems.

City of Cars.

Posted on 2012/02/03

Filmstill: Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (1972)

Filmstill: Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (1972)

The fantastic Ubuweb offers the 52 minutes-long documentary Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles from 1972:

The documentary, Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles (1972, 52 min.), takes the viewer on a tongue-in-cheek tour of the city’s cultural landscape. The trip includes stops at iconic landmarks such as Simon Rodia‘s Watts Towers and the Lovell “Health” House designed by Richard Neutra [...], as well as mini-malls, drive-thrus, and strip clubs.An entertaining and thoughtful examination of a metropolis in motion, the film documents a city situated at the divide between the modern era’s clean lines and faith in progress—as captured in the work of architectural photographer Julius Shulman—and what has been described as Banham’s “Pop Art” view, with its sparkle-front houses, Tiki huts, and jarring juxtapositions. – Ubuweb

As an architectural critic and writer Reyner Banham was known for the publication Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960) and the yet controversial book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1972) where he identified L.A. as one as an examples of posturban future and assessed its sprawling and car-based urbanism. He introduced four ecological models – the Surfurbai, Foothills, The Plains of Id, and Autopia – to examine the ways Angelenos relate to the beach, the freeways, the flatlands, and the foothills and aimed to exploring the distinct architectural cultures of each ecology.