We know designer Bruce Mau for his no-nonsense approach to optimism. As a creative and as an activist, his warnings are often as urgent as his ideas are bold. In a new interview with the National Film Board of Canada, he shares his take on the COVID-19 pandemic, and why he stills views our response as a short-term crisis in a long-term trend toward positive development.

Accompanying the conversation, is a punchy animated short directed by award-winning filmmaker Lillian Chan. The Big Reset: Cities is a three-minute call to action, narrated by Mau’s thoughts on the most toxic parts of urban design, and our best chances at changing them. As the film crescendoes, he sketches the problem: “We look at waste, and we think: ‘Yeah, of course there’s waste. We’re gonna have garbage.’ But, no, actually — no. There could be no garbage involved. That’s a concept that has permeated our mind like a virus.” Then, he offers an answer, along with a dare: “Here’s the design challenge: design a city without waste. And do it in perpetuity.”

Both the film and the full interview are currently streaming as part of The Curve, an online collection of stories on the COVID-19 experience. More information: www.nfb.ca/the-curve