Radiant City – entertaining critique of the suburbs of Calgary and beyond

Radiant City is an entertaining 2006 Canadian film written and directed by Calgary filmmaker Gary Burns  (Kitchen Party, Suburbanator, Way Downtown) and Jim Brown. The  film focus on the Moss family, who introduce us to the brand new suburb they have recently settled in. You can watch the whole NFB film here.

Toronto urban designer Ken Greenberg appears, as well as Mark Kingwell, Beverly Sandalack, James Howard Kunstler (The Geography of Nowhere, Long Emergency), Andrés Duany and other urban experts.


“80% of everything ever built in North America has been built in the last 50 years. And most of it is brutal, depressing, ugly, unhealthy and spiritually degrading. The plastic commuter tract home wastelands, the Potemkin village shopping plazas with their vast parking lagoons, the gourmet mansardic junk food joints, the Orwellian office parks featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sunglasses worn by chain gang guards. The whole agoraphobia-inducing toxic brutal spectacle that politicians like to call “growth” …

“Suburbia disaggregates the elements of everyday life so that you have to drive from one to the other.”


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2 Responses to “Radiant City – entertaining critique of the suburbs of Calgary and beyond”

  1. Andrea Says:

    kitchen party is great; I’ll have to watch this.

  2. Doug C. Says:

    Thanks for featuring this. I watched the entire film and really enjoyed it playing with reality in the documentary format.
    The critics featured were supposed to be (I think) of the scorched earth variety but if you’re a designer you’ll probably agree with everything they say. The hazards of the profession I guess.

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