"Urbanized" is the third in Hustwit's trilogy on various aspects of design that includes "Helvetica" (2007) and "Objectified" (2009). The film, which utilizes selections from some 300 hours of footage taken in 40 cities around the world, focuses on the role of urban design in addressing universal human needs.
Hustwit: "There are so many cities we couldn't go to that are not in the film. Our approach with 'Urbanized' was not to look at specific cities. It was to look at specific, universal issues and then look at specific projects around the world. Universal issues that face all cities: We all need a roof over our head, we need clean water and sanitation, we need mobility and ways to get around, we need some place to work and we need places to relax. Whatever you want to talk about in a city, it all pretty much boils down to one of those five issues. Then we look at how different cities are dealing with them. In a way, we are making a composite city. I couldn't think of any other way to structure it.
Everyone lives in a city and they know what they like or don't like about cities. Everybody wants to change their city and make it better, but a lot of people don't really know how to go about doing that. The main time the public interfaces with the city is when they are against something that is already underway. They are not leading a positive initiative to get something done. That's the takeaway of this film: Be more involved and critical about how you want your city to be."