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UrbanScope, the new audiovisual section of this website

The website publicspace.org has just launched UrbanScope, an audiovisual section which offers a selection of documentaries on the values and challenges of the European city.

[La Sortie de l'Usine Lumière à Lyon (August and Louis Lumière, 1895) │ Duration: 01:49]

Today, the website publicspace.org presents the audiovisual section UrbanScope, which will offer documentaries and short films dealing with a very wide range of urban matters. The audiovisual format has a long tradition in the production of materials chronicling life in cities. Indeed, in the first recorded moving images, the Lumière brothers portrayed a truly urban scene, namely workers coming out of a nineteenth-century factory (La Sortie de l'Usine Lumière à Lyon; August and Louis Lumière, 1895). Ever since then, cinema has proved to be a tool that is as effective as oral and written discourse when reflecting on and discussing the values and challenges raised by coexistence in cities.

Furthermore, most of the world’s population lives in urban territory, a phenomenon that augurs far-reaching consequences in our lives and for the planet that makes them possible. If the aim is to understand, predict and even survive the future, then the causes and effects of this urbanising fever must be carefully examined, understood and debated. In this regard, and despite some departures from the norm in recent decades, the European city still represents a civilised model of urban planning. Its distinctive features of density and complexity make it an up-to-date and viable alternative which, far from merely arousing feelings of nostalgia, holds out a more reasonable and just way of living together.

From this standpoint, UrbanScope seeks to compile a plural, complex view of the city on the basis of a set of films which inevitably offer perspectives that are subjective, partial or, perforce, limited in extension. In any case, the audiovisual works selected here are about the city, whether it is understood as a physical container or the immaterial content dwelling therein. Provided or made publicly accessible through links by their authors or owners, these pieces are mainly concerned with the European idea of the city, although they may also focus on other urban realities when their generalised nature suggests they should be included. This new section is part of the “Europe City” initiative which is funded by the European Union Culture Programme with a view to offering deeper reflection and debate about the values of the European city.

Translation: Julie Wark.