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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

5 videos that could change the way you see cities

Kaid Benfield

Posted April 11, 2012 in Living Sustainably

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  scene from Metropolis by Rob Carter

I find the emergence of the short, highly accessible video - on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo - to be one of the great developments in communications and social media over the last decade.  Even as a dedicated wordsmith, I believe photos and, by extension, videos, can sometimes convey much more information and be much more compelling than mere words.  

This is why we created a video channel for sustainable communities at NRDC, now hosting a library of some 136 entries (and growing) - some of them self-produced, most of them curated favorites produced by others - on cities, regions, and neighborhoods. Take a look sometime.

For today, here are five short videos that look at cities in very different ways from most of what we see in the environmental and urbanist blogs I write for.  Enjoy.

First up is a segment of the stop-gap paper animation film Metropolis, by Rob Carter. Watch Charlotte transformed from sometime in the late 20th century to the present, into the future, and eventually to a rather startling reclamation by nature:

  

Here's another fast-moving and entertaining animation that takes us through a wordless but compelling tour of London, highlighting waste systems, transport, food, and more along the way:

 

We don't think much about a city's underground infrastructure, but this CNN episode about Helsinki suggests that, if we did, we might find a clue or two to additional sustainability.  In an earlier post, I wrote that the reporter's effusive style may be to infrastructure what Dick Vitale's is to basketball:

 

There is something immensely inspiring about folk art.  Tyree Guyton's amazing, two-block Heidelberg Project (named for the Detroit street on which it sits) reminds us why. Great soundtrack, too:

  

Read more about the Heidelberg project here.

Finally, this striking musical and visual meditation on one of the country's great places of urban refuge was shot and edited with an unusual but especially capitaviting technique. Watch it in full screen mode with the sound up:

 

I set the context in a post about Rock Creek Park here.

Related posts with video features:

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.  

Please also visit NRDC’s Sustainable Communities Video Channel.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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