Design Library: The Human Scale

Nov 1, 2013

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One of the driving factors behind the EQ3 Inhabit blog is our desire to share our passion for design and explore culture and various art forms. As part of this never-ending search for inspiration and ideas, we’ve decided to create a catalogue of sorts – a growing list of design resources in literature (books, journals, magazines, etc.) and film. The blog seemed like a permanent and personal space to house the list, so with that, we’d like to log our first entry.


Design Library Volume 01: The Human Scale

Year: 2013

Category: Film, Documentary

Director and Writer: Andreas Dalsgaard

Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real



We caught a late night screening of Andreas Dalsgaard’s new documentary, The Human Scale, back in September at the local Cinematheque, an event held in conjunction with The Winnipeg Design Festival. According to Dalsgaard, the architectural film explores “…the way we live in cities today, and how our social nature and habits are connected to the physical habitat we live in.” After watching the film, we can attest to the accuracy of this statement. With an educational background in both film and social anthropology, the Denmark-based director brings life and human insight to the architectural film scene. Dalsgaard goes beyond buildings, and addresses the importance of designing cities scaled for humans – not cars.


Dalsgaard draws examples from Danish architect Jen Ghel’s work as an illustration for change. Ghel spent years studying people in Italy and how they interact with their city, which he later used to re-plan and restructure Copenhagen, Denmark, as well as other Nordic cities. Ghel’s work emphasizes cities designed to encourage interaction and intimacy among people, completely opposing the trend in modern urban planning, which emphasizes isolation and individualism.


Dalsgaard breaks the documentary up into 5 short chapters, with each one focusing on a different city – Melbourne, New York, Chongqing, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Christchurch – that has somehow been or is being inspired by architect Ghel’s planning strategies. The New York case study, for example, looks at how the city reclaimed Time Square from motorists and made it into a space for people to congregate and essentially, live. The film’s a must see for anyone interested in (or concerned about!) the world’s current physical and social ecosystems.


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