Filmmaker Gary Hustwit presents the last in a trilogy of pop documentaries about the endless reach of modern design into our daily lives. Helvetica (2007) was a brilliant critique of the friendly, utilitarian typefont; Objectified (2009) widened the parameters of the discussion to encompass the world of product design; and this third installment pulls out even farther to consider urban planning. Too far, as it turns out: of the three movies, this is the least cohesive, jumping from city to city (Brasilia, Copenhagen, New York, Detroit, New Orleans) as it considers various elements of livability and sustainability (car traffic, energy use, personal civility, community gardening). The most striking observation offered is that slum dwellers, who constitute a third of the world's population, create a city as much as the high-powered architects and planners at the top of the hierarchy—just not the part anyone wants to see. At the very least, Hustwit drives home the urgency of radically rethinking city life as the world population tops seven billion.
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