Monthly Archives: September 2011

The VCAT Fast Track: What Matthew Guy Said Before the Election

Oh no i missed the train :(

There’s not much point editorialising about the proposed introduction of a user-pays fast-track system at VCAT (as reported in The Age today). The case against is pretty much self-evident, and well enough laid out by various parties in that story; and even those who support it will see it as a necessary evil, rather than the ideal way to resource the justice system. But I thought it was worth going back to what Matthew Guy said to Planning News about VCAT when we interviewed him, before the election.

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Just How Much Can a City Change?

I wrote a couple of months back about the power of movies to preserve a record of cities as they used to be. In that post I included various pieces of footage of Melbourne, and one interesting thing was how recognisable the streets remained. There was no mistaking many locations – such as Princes Bridge, Elizabeth Street, and St Kilda Road – in footage as much as a century old. Despite everything that has gone on in the last century, Melbourne in the 1910s remains fundamentally recognisable. But how much can a city change?

That question was prompted by a video guaranteed to push both my film and planning nerd buttons: 1940s footage of Los Angeles recorded to be back-projection footage for a driving scene in an (unknown) movie project. This came to my attention via The Atlantic and UrbanPhoto blog’s twitter feed, and was originally posted in truly astounding quality by The Internet Archive (here). Below is a YouTube embed, but you can get even better quality on their page.

This footage is of Downtown L.A. and the nearby Bunker Hill district, and it gives some sense of just how profoundly Los Angeles has been transformed. In my previous post I alluded to the remarkable books by John Bengtson that reconstruct silent-film-era Los Angeles from the films of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Harold Lloyd; one thing you get from his work is an idea of just how different a kind of city Los Angeles was in the first part of the twentieth century. This footage reinforces that.

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