By Sophie King, UPRISE Research Fellow
“I don’t believe by me drawing a line I can make things happen. I can’t force anybody to do anything or be anyone – but we can make invitations” David Sim, Gehl Architects
This is a quote from The Human Scale, Andreas M. Dalsgaard’s 2012 documentary about the work of architect Jan Gehl. This film exploring the relationship between city planning and public life – and particularly the possibility of making cities work for people instead of the other way around, was the perfect start to what we hope will be an annual series of film screenings and public debates convened by UPRISE and UPRISE PhD Student Laura Ager’s Film Fringe. During an evening that drew together an eclectic mix of architects, regeneration professionals, creative industry professionals, scholars, and activists from three continents, the film sparked debate about how to make regeneration more people-centred; the role of the creative industries, artists and activists in place-making; and the parallels between activism that works to make cities more people-centred across the global North and South. Following the screening Dr. Sarie Slee, Lecturer in Art and Design at the University of Salford and UPRISE’s own Professor Dan Dubowitz shared their reflections on how this beautifully shot documentary which looks at Gehl’s work across five cities in Copenhagen, New York, Beijing, Melbourne, Christchurch and Dhaka speaks to their own experiences and practice of place-making.