|Writers||Kevin E. Fry
|Plot||Operating under the theory that people respond to their physical environment, this public television documentary, a sequel to Back from the Brink: Saving America's Cities by Design (VL-1/98), examines how citizen involvement in architectural design can nurture a sense of community; in other words, "if you want people to behave like neighbors, you create a neighborhood." To that end, we visit four U.S. cities that involved residents in a particular design process: Gaylord, MI, which built a high school that also functions as a community center; Diggs Town, VA, which transformed itself from a typical low-rise public housing project into an actual neighborhood, complete with playgrounds, porches, and backyards; Mashpee, MA, which reconstructed a strip mall into a town center; and Bonaparte, IA, whose residents bought and renovated its dying downtown buildings and revitalized the town itself. Hosted by Seattle ex-mayor Charles Royer, this well done, non-sugar-coated tape does a fine job explaining how the group planning process can help conquer the isolation that pervades many cities, towns, and suburbs, as well as reminding viewers that "when you build with the community, you end up building community itself." Despite the accent on "public participation," this program is recommended more for academic collections than public libraries.... search for Becoming Good Neighbors: Enriching Communities by Design on IMDb|
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