"80% of everything that has been built in North America was built in the last fifty years and most of it is brutal, depressing, ugly, unhealthy and spiritually degrading."- That's James Howard Kunstler gleefully munching the Calgary scenery in Radiant City, a new film about what's happening on the edge of town. It is a sort of docudrama following the Moss family through their daily life of commutes and gymnastic classes and shopping at the power center, with commentary by the always articulate planner Ken Greenberg, new urbanist Andreas Duany, philosopher Mark Kingwell and, of course, Jim Kunstler at his best.
It truly does show the suburbs at their soul-destroying worst, "overlaid with zombie monoculture. Politicians call it growth. Developers call it business. The Moss family call it home." We call it sometimes very funny, sometimes overlong and draggy, sometimes as Vanessa Farquarson of the Post quoted, "almost too true to be real."
There are not too many entertaining nights out to be had watching movies about urban planning. We hope this will make it to the States; everyone concerned about the future of our cities should see ::Radiant City. Watch the trailer here.