Monthly Archives: July 2011

An Urban Planner’s Guide to the Melbourne International Film Festival

I had planned to do a fairly detailed post about the upcoming Melbourne International Film Festival, but I have been distracted by the release of the truly stupefying Small Lot Housing Code.  However, it would be wrong of me, given the dual focus of this page, not to at least note the amount of urban planning content on at MIFF this year.

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Posted in Film, Urban Planning, Urban Planning and Film | Tagged | 2 Comments

Tintin, The Dark Knight, and Jack and Jill

Having posted every other bit of Tintin promotion, it seems remiss not to post the full trailer released the other day. I don’t really have anything to add to what I’ve said before: parts of the animation (particularly the comic “falls”) look a little off; computer animation is a strange choice; but the retro look of the world has a really nice, indefinable Tintin-ness to it.

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The Small Lot Housing Code: Is it Ready to Use?

The Growth Area Authority have released their Small Lot Housing Code, following the Planning Minister’s announcement of it last week. It’s a strange beast, worthy of some comment both for its importance (this is potentially a major shake-up of how housing is to be delivered in Victoria) and for the nature and content of the document itself.

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And to Think That I Saw it on Colonial Street

Colonial Street B

A while back I posted about Courthouse Square, the classic town square used in countless film and television productions. As I argued then, I think these backlot places are interesting because they at once reflect and shape our ideas about community. When Hollywood production designers build a backlot set, they will aim for something that is at once familiar yet generic (since it will be used in many productions), while simultaneously desirable (since Hollywood films tend to show a world that is a little bit more exciting and interesting than our own). That’s the part where they reflect our desires.

Yet once built, those sets reappear in many productions. Over time, with repetition, those generic backlot communities can come to actually shape our image of community. I don’t want to over-sell this idea: obviously we don’t simply passively absorb a picture of the world from movies and then start to believe this is the way the world is, or should be. But I do believe that pop-culture iconography is party of the language we draw on to make sense of the world, and that Hollywood’s images of the quaint small towns, leafy suburbs, or the polluted big city become powerful visual signifiers that influence the way we picture different types of community.

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