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Special screening of The Human Scale, June 12

Special screening of The Human Scale, June 12


Wednesday 6/12/2013

7 p.m.

Whitsell Auditorium of the Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Avenue)


Northwest Film Center and Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association invite you to a special screening of The Human Scale, an award-winning documentary inspired by the work of Jan Gehl and Gehl Architects. As the world's population continues to migrate to cities, how the expansion of the future cities is managed and planned has lasting impact on our everyday lives. How do we build cities that invite human interaction, inclusion and intimacy so vibrant city lives can be sustained environmentally, economically and socially? As Portland is going through the Central City 2035 planning process to shape the future of our city, the screening of this film is both informative and timely.

This special event will take place on Wednesday 6/12/2013 7 p.m. at the Whitsell Auditorium of the Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Avenue). Tickets are $9, and NWFC Silver Screen member benefits apply. Film length is 83 minutes. The screening will be followed by a discussion session on Human Scale Design moderated by Dr. Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard, co-founder and Director of International Making Cities Livable Conferences LLC and Child-Friendly Communities Alliance.

Director Andreas M. Dalsgaard's exploration of what happens, and can happen, when communities are invited to enjoy the spaces between buildings is simultaneously beautiful, thought-provoking, and haunting. The Human Scale looks beyond the magnificent cityscapes to see how people are shaped by development and efficiency, as well as how cities can be shaped by people's needs.

"This doc is wonderful...The film is largely about the very encouraging (to me) reaction to our present situation. To think about encouraging happy accidents. To create common spaces. To find less disruptive ways of getting around. To bring us back together." - David Byrne



Today 50% of the world's population lives in urban areas. By 2050 this figure is expected to increase to 80%. The megacity is both enchanting and scary. This rapid growth will take place as we face additional challenges of peak oil, climate change and severe health issues.  The Human Scale questions our assumptions about modernity, exploring what happens when we put people into the center of our equation. How do we plan these cities in a way which takes human behavior into account? For 40 years the Danish architect Jan Gehl has systematically studied human behaviors in the cities, focusing on Life Between Buildings, including how humans use the streets, how they walk, see, rest, meet and interact with each other. Using statistical methods and asking questions about how well our public spaces are performing for all users, Gehl Architect teams assisted in planning projects in cities around the world, from the slums of Bangladesh to the financial district in New York City. In a kaleidoscopic use of images and sound, The Human Scale takes audiences to these cities as experts in urban planning share their work and observations. By portraying how humans and the built environment affect each other, the film investigates whether city planning based on the human dimensions can be an integral part of the solution to global challenges resulting from rapid growth.


Northwest Film Center                                  Jennifer Geske, Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association

Phone: 503-221-1156                                    Land Use and Transportation Committee Chair

Email:                                Email:

Director Biography Andreas Dalsgaard holds degrees in film and social anthropology and is interested in human interaction in society. His first film, Afghan Muscles, won Best Documentary at the 2007 AFI Fest, and he has since directed three other documentaries: Cities on Speed—Bogota Change, Traveling with Mr. T, and this year’s The Human Scale.

Film Trailer Gehl Architects
The company, Gehl Architects – Urban Quality Consultants, was established in 2000. The work of Gehl Architects builds on Professor Jan Gehl’s 40 years of extensive research on life in public spaces. Along with new research the company continues to build the foundation for work in small and large cities in all corners of the world, offering expertise in the fields of architecture, urban design and city planning that is based on the human dimension - the built environment's effect on activity patterns and interaction between people.

Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association

One of Portland's oldest neighborhood associations, the PDNA was formed in 1977 to improve the livability of the central city. Membership is free and open to anyone who lives, works, owns property, or attends school downtown. The PDNA's boundaries correspond roughly to the I-405 freeway, the Willamette River, SW Stark Street and W Burnside Street. Through public meetings and partnership with agencies and other neighborhood associations, PDNA provides a forum for its members to discuss and advocate for improvements in community concerns in the areas of public safety, economic development, planning, housing, transportation, sustainability and livability.


NW Film Center
Established in 1971, the Northwest Film Center is a regional media arts resource and service organization founded to encourage the study, appreciation, and utilization of the moving image arts, foster their artistic and professional excellence, and to help create a climate in which they may flourish. The Center provides a variety of film and video exhibition, education, and information programs primarily directed to the residents of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.

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