The festival is divided into four main themes: 20th Century Visionaries, Crossing the Divide, Designing Happiness and Urban Futures. And, as Buchanan and her business partner Tracey Lee write in their introduction: "The scale of New Zealand’s urban growth is something that seldom leaves the airwaves. As we face the challenges surrounding housing, renewal and responsible development into the future, these films remind us that architecture and design are not just about physical space – they are potent tools in the forming and shaping of dynamic, sustainable communities. This year’s festival brings a range of films that we hope will prompt dialogue and stimulate thought. As we recognise the shift in focus towards the future, so too do we acknowledge that we each have a part to play in how our spaces and places are created, and how our planet is affected in the process."
Here are Buchanan's top picks.
Gaming the Real World
A really fascinating film exploring the opportunities that arise when games like Minecraft are used as tools for city planning. It follows leaders and creators of companies like Mojang (Minecraft), Paradox Interactive (Cities: Skylines) and Block’hood as they develop their games and use them not just for entertainment, but for engaging young people in urban development. UN Habitat has also used Minecraft with real success in locations such as Nepal, Nairobi and Kathmandu and we can recognise that in this area, the gap between reality and simulation is rapidly closing.
A New Economy
What if working together for the good of all was the most common business model? This film tracks seven organisations as they explore new ways of doing business, an approach that is not dominated by profits, but where humanity and values come first.
Uncommon Sense: The Life and Architecture of Laurie Baker
Laurie Baker, of English origin, moved to India and became dedicated to serving the communities in which he lived. From the deepest parts of the Himalayas to Kerala in the south, he applied his experience as an architect to create beautiful, sustainable and affordable housing. His approach to building was revolutionary at the time and he was rightfully known as the Godfather of Green Architecture. He created homes for thousands of India’s poorest who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford them.
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