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Movies with or about urban planners/urban planning

alex_greece

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Messages
10
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1
As I was watching last year an episode of a popular american tv show, that the first role is a structural civil engineer I was wondering if there is a movie or tv show or something that has to do with an urban planner for key role or just for urban planning.
I think that it would be interesting. Does anyone has an idea about that?
 

hullcorey

Member
Messages
19
Points
1
I had a couple of professors back in college use movies an example of planning, usually more on the social aspects of planning though.

One of them was the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Another was Metropolis, a 1920s silent movie.

It seems like I remember saving a list that they had come up with, I will have to see if I can find it.
 

strumpeace

Cyburbian
Messages
32
Points
2
There's a great episode of Seinfeld where a kid applying for a scholarship wants to be a city planner. IIRC, the episode includes the line: 'The dumbest guy in my fraternity flunked out of dental school and became an architect.' It's the same episode where we learn that there's a street gang named after Martin Van Buren -- 'and they're just as mean as he was'.

Anyway, not a movie, but it's all I could come up with at the moment.
 

nrschmid

Cyburbian
Messages
2,856
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20
Disney:
  • Documentary on the Car of Tomorrow: talked about cars and the future of transportation planning: very hokey.
  • EPCOT (Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow) was a masterplan for an entire city.
Golden Girls. Blanche wants to build a hot tub. Building inspector finds out all of the girls are living under one roof without a boarding license. I vaguely remember something about Betty White talking about primary dwellings or setbacks.

Back to the Future All three movies look at the historical progression of development: downtown, not yet-built subdivisions, re-use of buildings.

Jumanji The fast decline of a bustling town after the biggest employer, Parish Shoes, goes out of business. Has some similarities with saving Callahan Autos in Tommy Boy

Truman Show : A movie about Seaside, FL!!! I wonder if all new urbanist communities have that many hidden cameras and a wave machine? Maybe Ed Harris' character was really Andres Duany. Hmmmm....

Miracle on 34th Street. A movie about Levittown!!! Isn't it the American Dream to move from a glamarous rent-controlled apartment on Central Park West/Columbus Circle to a mediocre split level Cape Cod in the middle of No Where, USA?

I probably have a few other "urban planning movies" . Will add more later. And no, I am proudly NOT a movie junkie.
 
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arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
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25
There's a great episode of Seinfeld where a kid applying for a scholarship wants to be a city planner. IIRC, the episode includes the line: 'The dumbest guy in my fraternity flunked out of dental school and became an architect.' It's the same episode where we learn that there's a street gang named after Martin Van Buren -- 'and they're just as mean as he was'.

Anyway, not a movie, but it's all I could come up with at the moment.
Actually in that episode, George wants to give the scholarship to that boy because like him, he was a c student and emulated him in high school and he wanted to be an architect. At the Board of Directors meeting for the foundation named after Susan, the boy stood up and said he no longer wanted to be an architect, but be a city a planner and told them "why would i want to build just one building when i can design a city!" The light bulb went off in my head and i too decided i should check out what city planning was all about..

Recently i was watching saturday morning cartoons with my daughter and she likes this show called "horseland" on cbs (yes they still exists). It is about these young kids who ride horses. Well the episode entitled "new development" had all the following elements rolled into one package: NIMBYism, endangered species, destruction of property, calling in of the press under false pretenses and attractive looking developers all rolled into a 30 minute cartoon intended for young children. I kid you not. The show had a premise where the horse riders where fearful that a new development would ruin their meadow and were set to stop it any cost including deflating tires from tractors, releasing a gecko that "looked" like an endangered species and come to find out that the development would be an eco-friendly "sustainable" development with solar energy, preservation of open space and a parking lot on the highway no less requiring visitors to hike to the resort. If this episode wasn't planning at its best, i don't know what is.
 

NickSticks

Cyburbian
Messages
163
Points
7
Chinatown with Jack Nicholson focuses on land and water politics and corruption in 1930s Los Angeles.
 

imaplanner

Cyburbian
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6,671
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26
Bill Murray plays a city planner that dresses up like a clown and robs a bank in Quick Change.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
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6,352
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25
Almost forgot:

In Grand Theft Auto San Andreas: the stage in Las Venturas where you have to steal the hotel building plans, you have to go through the Las Venturas Building and Planning Department. I shot the entire department to death...after stealing the plans of course. I don't know if you consider that suicide or not?
 
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beach_bum

Cyburbian
Messages
3,427
Points
20
Numb3rs-tv show

Alan Eppes is a former L.A. City planner, a widower and the father of both Charlie and Don Eppes. He is portrayed by Judd Hirsch.
 

strumpeace

Cyburbian
Messages
32
Points
2
I finally thought of one --

Cars -- the Disney/Pixar movie.

There's a great discussion about what happened to the city when the new interstate was built.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
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24,267
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46
[OT]
Over the Hedge (with RJ the Raccoon and all his friends) pokes fun at suburbia.
Any (attitude) resemblance between the Over The Hedge's RJ and the Cyburbian RJ is purely coincidental. :-D ;) :p

except maybe when it comes to hottubing. (previous postings)[/OT]
 

cch

Cyburbian
Messages
1,436
Points
19
In the movie Singles, the Campbell Scott character is a transportation planner in Seattle, and his rapid rail idea gets shot down.
 

KangaroosRule

Member
Messages
16
Points
1
I haven't seen it, but The Unforeseen is a documentary about a subdivision in Texas, land use politics and the essence of good design. My local APA chapter sent an email promoting the movie with the trailer.

The NY Times said Robert Redford was too big of an influence in the film, creating a bias
 

DecaturHawk

Cyburbian
Messages
880
Points
21
There was an episode during the first season of the The Sopranos where Christopher's girlfriend, Adrianna (I think he offed her in a later season) wanted to get into the music business and tried to get in with a gangsta rapper named Master P. At one point in the episode, Master P reveals that he has a degree in City Planning.
 

Joe Iliff

Reformed City Planner
Messages
1,441
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28
Not a movie, but one of my favorite episodes of the television show Law & Order has a murderer with a degree in city planning. He is presented as being very intelligent, but mentally unstable. He chooses to defend himself in court and not to allow his history of mental health problems to be entered into evidence, so people do not discount the validity of his ideas. Jack McCoy says that he is "too insane to know he's insane". He's found guilty, despite attempts by his brother to introduce evidence of his mental disease or defect during the trial. That evidence is finally introduced during sentencing, and is observed by the jury when he loses control in the courtroom upon its introduction.
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
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21
I had a couple of professors back in college use movies an example of planning, usually more on the social aspects of planning though.

One of them was the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Another was Metropolis, a 1920s silent movie.

It seems like I remember saving a list that they had come up with, I will have to see if I can find it.
I actually took an undergrad class called "Planning In Film" or something to that effect. We watched a different movie every week and had to write papers comparing and contrasting them.

I remember Metropolis.
We also watched Blade Runner, which i.m.d.b. describes "The city ... is a huge, sprawling, bleak vision of the future."
I'll look for my notebook and give you more...

I also voted for Back to the Future as our end, student chosen, film. I lost.

What about Erin Brokovitz? That's about the big corporation polluting the world, but also argueably about innapropriate adjacent uses and such...
 

MacheteJames

Cyburbian
Messages
930
Points
19
As RandomPlanner alludes to, it may be worth mentioning films that depict a future vision of the city but do not make it the main focus of the plot. A few that come to mind are the Fifth Element (23rd Century NYC), Judge Dredd (also NYC), I Robot (mid 21st century Chicago) and Minority Report (mid 21st century Washington DC).
 

BurgPlanner

Member
Messages
6
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0
OK...so I haven't seen this movie myself, but my boss has. The latest Saw movie...I think it is Saw 5. Three of the characters that get trapped in the building and are forced to play the "games" are:

A Developer (you might say that's appropriate)
A Building Inspector

and.......


A City Planner

I know...it's not a movie about planning, but when was the last time you saw a movie where one of the main characters is a City Planner???
 

Suburb Repairman

moderator in moderation
Moderator
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7,288
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28
From a charming bit of cultural polution: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Character Darald, when discussing bedroom anatomy issues and his new wife on their honeymoon:

Let me just say that if God was a city planner he would not put a playground next to a sewage system!

Not really a topical planning issue, but funny none-the-less.
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
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4,202
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26
Wasn't the central plot in Disney's The Love Bug a battle between some little guys and an ego-maniacal developer and his equally audacious proposed building project?

Mike
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
601
Points
18
"The Unforeseen" (2007) is available at Netflix.

There have also been six major media reviews of the film quoted there - mostly positive.
 

natski

Cyburbian
Messages
2,579
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21
The Castle

An Australian Movie (was released in the US- redubbed- not as good as the Aussie version at all) about a family who's house is located next to an airport and the airport wants to expand.

Has become a classic Australian movie- lots of one liners

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118826/
 

JMo

Cyburbian
Messages
59
Points
4
Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Millionaire real estate developer George Wade (Hugh Grant) doesn't make a move without Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock), his multitasking chief counsel. Now, after a year of calling the shots -- on everything from George's clothes to his divorce settlements -- Lucy is giving her two weeks' notice. Finally free of George and his 24-hour requests, Lucy is ready to change course … Or is she?

Memorable quote:

George Wade: This whole project is worth about 50 million in profits.
Ruth Kelson: No offense, but I think it's *immoral* for one person to acquire that much wealth. How do you sleep at night?
George Wade: Well, I have a machine that simulates the sound of the ocean.
Larry Kelson: Do those really work?
George Wade: Oh, yes, quite well actually.
 

planr

Cyburbian
Messages
157
Points
7
Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (1989) is an interesting look at the Bed-Stuy neighborhood in Brooklyn through the lens of diversity (Majority black population, Italian's running the pizza joint, Puerto Ricans on the street corner, Korean shopkeepers, etc)
 

steviede

Member
Messages
1
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0
city form and cinematic representation

Hey all,

I am a town planning student in Western Australia, about to prepare my final dissertation, am interested to hear what people might think about this idea....

what can town planning draw from the way cities are portrayed in films?? can town planning learn from the way 'creative' popular culture thinks cities of the future will look like.

may be planning as a solely political, scientific medium needs to take into account other dimensions??

if anyone get give me some direction where i could go with this, it would be much appreciated!!!!!!
 

jobaba

Cyburbian
Messages
43
Points
2
In a Seinfeld episode, George awards a scholarship to a slacker student who wants to be an architect.

When the student changes his mind and decides to be an urban planner instead, citing architecture as a poor man's urban planning, George flies off the handle and rescinds the scholarship.

Great episode and interesting enough, I can't even count the number of architects I went to urban planning school with...
 

Pragmatic Idealist

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611
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15
"Volcano" (1997) was a ridiculous movie about lava in Los Angeles, and most of the film is set on Wilshire Boulevard where people are debating the construction of the extension to the subway.
 

Pragmatic Idealist

Cyburbian
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611
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15
"Crash," also set in Los Angeles, explores the socioeconomic balkanization and ethnic fragmentation that the cars have created in southern California.
 

Citizen K

Member
Messages
16
Points
1
The short-lived sitcom "Men Behaving Badly" from the '90s featured a very unctuous, obnoxious next-door neighbor character trying too woo a pretty girl. In one scene he's just finishing up an obviously very long and very boring story, and the poor girl's eyes are glazed over.

He ends with: "And THAT'S how I became an urban planner."
 

Rygor

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2,718
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17
There was an episode of Criminal Minds this past weekend wherein a guy works for an environmental company that does site cleanup work and finds out there is a serial arsonist working for him. They mention EPA site cleanup regulations a bit and talk briefly about a rezoning from a commercial-warehouse zone to "ES" - elementary school (nevermind that I've never heard of a zoning district created for something as specific as elementary schools).
 

The One

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Messages
8,283
Points
29
Atlanta Zoning Office

Anyone see the latest Walking Dead episode on AMC? They introduced Jackie, an official from the Atlanta Zoning Office:D I wish we had a zombie emoticon for this post. I give her one or two more episodes before she is consumed by a zombie:r:8-!
 

johnelsden

Cyburbian
Messages
416
Points
13
The Series "Numbers" (unfortunately cancelled last year) starred Judd Hirsch as an urban planner................
 

JimPlans

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Messages
409
Points
13
The short-lived sitcom "Men Behaving Badly" from the '90s featured a very unctuous, obnoxious next-door neighbor character trying too woo a pretty girl. In one scene he's just finishing up an obviously very long and very boring story, and the poor girl's eyes are glazed over.

He ends with: "And THAT'S how I became an urban planner."
The series "Doc Martin" had a throwaway line in it that made me laugh. One of the characters (Louisa) was marrying Doc Martin (a doctor), and her maid of honor was crying because her ex-boyfriend had gotten her pregnant and then left her, and at least Louisa was marrying a doctor, because her lousy ex-boyfriend was only a "city planner."

I quote [USER]Citizen K[/USER] because the lead actor in Doc Martin is Martin Clunes, and he was also the lead character in the original BBC version of "Men Behaving Badly." Hmmm.
 

der Bebauungsplan

Cyburbian
Messages
73
Points
4
Yeah, I saw the Walking Dead episode and laughed out loud. Then I wondered how a zoning person would know about the sewage tunnel. It would've been more plausible if she was from DPW :)
 

Queen B

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3,179
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24
There were two Christmas movies in a row yesterday that made mention of planning. One where the Mayor says he has a Planning Commission meeting.

The other where Shelly Long was a city lawyer? and had her Santa Clause father thrown in jail because of zoning violations. ( I have to say I wasn't watching all that close so my details could be a bit off.)

No wonder people think poorly of us...:-c
 

Cismontane

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Messages
900
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17
"Hiroshima Mon Amour" is still a classic...

On the lighter side, the film short by GHG emissions campaign NGO 10:10, "No Pressure" is noteworthy. The film short depicated small children being blow up, among other bloody things. It was pulled from the air after the public complained.
 

stroskey

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1,212
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17
Family Guy had an episode where they wanted to get a pool permit but found out they actually weren't part of the city so they became their own country. Another episode dealt with the struggle between Walmart and small businesses.

King of the Hill actually had many episodes that seriously mentioned planning and zoning concepts, such as setbacks, residential densities, being active in local planning efforts, Walmart vs small business (a good episode with realistic points, IMO), public participation in government, auto usage, suburban sprawl, neighborhood associations, and fighting chain stores. King of the Hill was a show that was a comedy, but also seriously dealt with some large issues in a mature way.
 

sequoianelf

Cyburbian
Messages
36
Points
2
Parks and Rec. There is a pretty cool Planner. Maybe not the starring role but I like that there is a SNL character as lead.
 

Random Traffic Guy

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Messages
644
Points
18
Anyone see the latest Walking Dead episode on AMC? They introduced Jackie, an official from the Atlanta Zoning Office:D I wish we had a zombie emoticon for this post. I give her one or two more episodes before she is consumed by a zombie:r:8-!
Yeah, I saw the Walking Dead episode and laughed out loud. Then I wondered how a zoning person would know about the sewage tunnel. It would've been more plausible if she was from DPW :)
Well, it was plausible that she was completely useless!

And from last night's season finale:
She essentially committed suicide by remaining behind when the CDC blew itself up.
 

The One

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8,283
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29
Yup.....

Well, it was plausible that she was completely useless!

And from last night's season finale:
She essentially committed suicide by remaining behind when the CDC blew itself up.
Just another weak willed planner taking the easy way out:-{ Did you notice that no one tried that hard to talk her out of it:-o:not: They were all like.....you sure?....but....ah well ok then.....
 

Water Planner

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
Bullit with Steve McQueen

I'm not sure but I think that Steve McQueen's lady in Bullit (Jackie Bissett) was a landscape architect (she was designing a fountain at the office she worked in and the surroundings looked very design oriented) so that is close to the urban planner species.
 

Jazlyn007

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
Pocahontas (1995 film)

I suggest movies like "Pocahontas (1995)", you get to see the amazing change and it's effects on people...
 
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