We've done the "planning songs" threads before. This weekend, though, I got thinking about movies where planning was a central theme.
I used to recall seeing a movie on HBO about 15 years ago, about a group of bored kids living in a 1970s-era planned community, causing mayhem and eventually rioting. A central theme of the movie was the bleakness and social isolation of the moribund new town -- lots of earth tone houses and condos, lots of well-manicured parks, lots of "roads to nowhere" and projects abandoned halfway through construction. There were no "hangouts" and no place for kids to socialize outside of school, thus resulting in rampant drug use, vandalism, and similar activities.
Fast-forward to 1998. I took a job with the City of Aurora, Colorado Planning Department. I never saw that movie again, but I swore that the movie was filmed there, after experiencing the built environment and landscape of Aurora. Although Aurora was booming, the bulk of the city presented a classic 1970s new town appearance -- winding streets, greenbelts, earth tone buildings, and a sense of "planned sterility." If you did a bit of digging, you found plenty of evidence of stalled projects from Denver's oil boom years -- half-built parking garages in office parks, roads to nowhere, buildings intended to be much taller than their completed height, and stacks of plans for never-built edge city-type office towers. Maps of Aurora's proposed street network extended 10 to 20 km from the newest subdivisions on the far east edge of town, and zoning maps included land use zoned in PUDs going out that far -- developments that were approved in the 1970s, but never built. I got the impression that Aurora just "stopped" in 1980, and woke from a long sleep 15 years later. I asked around about "some movie about kids rioting, that might have been filmed here," and nobody knew anything.
This wekend, I decided to take another shot at it ... I went on line, Googled something like "movie teenagers vandalism Granada" (the name of the town in the movie, from what I remembered), and got some hits -- Over the Edge, which was billed as a late 1970s "Rebel Without a Cause," and considered to be something of a cult film now. I dug through the fan sites ... and found it was filmed in good 'ol Saudi Aurora. Damn, my memory was good. Interesting, too, considering that the Columbine incident took place outside of Denver.
I'll put down Over the Edge as a film where urban planning is a central (but not primary) theme. Can anyone think of any others?