These days, it’s no secret that bigger isn’t always better. Less is more, they tell us, for everything from our wastelands to our waistlines. But what about rescaling our cities? Andreas Dalsgaard questions this in his latest documentary: The Human Scale, which will be presented at the upcoming WDCD Film Festival.

Centered on the research of Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl, The Human Scale is a striking examination on how life between buildings has changed our humanity. In the director’s own words: ‘Life in a mega city is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face peak oil, climate change, loneliness and severe health issues due to our way of life. But why?’

Ultimately, the urban planners, thinkers and architects in the film argue that urban life, and the very way we build cities, is in need of a complete overhaul. Indeed, they suggest that the time is up for epic metropolises. To move forward we should reverse our obsession with growth, and focus instead on creating intimate, human spaces.

Incredible Shrinking Man

One step (or two) further down this line of thinking is Arne Hendriks’ inspiring project, ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’. This speculative design research argues not just for the merits of smaller cities, but of smaller human beings. Specifically, Hendriks would like to shrink mankind – along with its needs and problems – to some 50cm small.

Though it may sound like science-fiction at first, together with collaborators like WDCD2014 speaker Rachel Armstrong, Hendriks sets up a strong case for downsizing the human species to better fit the earth. This weekend Armstrong and Hendriks will lead a masterclass on the subject at The Age of Wonder festival in Eindhoven.

With the rise of synthetic biology, perhaps it truly is time for us to redesign nature itself. Either way, we predict this fascinating topic is here to stay. If you can’t wait for our Film Festival (1-8 May), catch a screening of the original 1957 film The Incredible Shrinking Man at the Age of Wonder festival this weekend. The sci-fi classic will be shown on both Friday 28 and Saturday 29 of March.

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