Placemaking in Seattle


About This Video: I believe one of the fundamental American conundrums is the design of our cities and their correlates. We’ve designed through the framework of automobiles delivering people to buildings, and more so, within an economic framework that prioritizes rapid return on investment over actual value to humans. This has been disruptive to human health, the environment, and every level of political and economic sustainability. The ripple effects of this era of design are seen in vast swaths of decay and blight, of Detroit returning to the plains, of black mold engulfing the drywalled crawlspaces of the exurbs, of oxygen-deprived estuaries filling with the rubber of tires, copper of brake pads, grit and grime of petroleum waste. We’ve divided society by these great highways and imprisoned our bodies at the end of lonely cul-de-sacs, breeding generations of disconnected, depressed, frustrated beings who’s lack of satisfaction plays out in violence and political zealotry. I believe that the fundamental question that America faces is how do we redesign these places in a way that becomes therapeutic to the maladies of isolation. We’ve just gone through an election that has proven that the divisions are deep. I can’t help but wonder the role that the layouts of our lives, our daily paths, the rooms where we work and sleep, and the streets where we drive or walk play in all of this. This film is about Seattle, because that is where I do all those things. We are an innovative place, a confluence of social values, entrepreneurship, and the understanding that community is an important element to creating a society where we can all take part. My hope is that because of that unique milieu, we can be an example on how America, and all of us can move forward.

– Eric Becker, Seattle, Nov 2012.