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Book: The Caring City, part of Azure's September October Media Shelf on city living
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Film: Where We Grow Older
Film: Where We Grow Older

Increased lifespans and a growing aging population are reshaping the way we think about architecture. In this film (the last in a three-part series by the Canadian Centre for Architecture), director Daniel Schwartz presents case studies of two distinct approaches to senior living: Alí Bei, a government-run housing project in Barcelona that embeds its residents in city life, and Carehaus, a developer-led co-housing initiative for seniors and their caregivers in Baltimore — the first of its kind in the country. Interviews with experts, residents, caregivers and activists reveal vital lessons: At Alí Bei, for instance, life expectancy exceeds the city average, keeping turnover rates lower than predicted.

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Book: The Caring City
Book: The Caring City, part of Azure's September October Media Shelf on city living

In the post-industrial world, cities are better designed to optimize productivity than to meet our basic needs. This book by Izaskun Chinchilla Moreno enlists ordinary citizens (rather than urban planners) to rethink this — placing particular emphasis on the need to deliver equitable spaces. “It is important to recall and insist that citizens cannot be defective: not having a home, not speaking a language, being a child or an elderly person, not hearing well, or not being able to walk are not deficiencies per se. It is the context that turns citizens’ characteristics into vulnerabilities,” Chinchilla Moreno writes. In workshops with kids, the architect explores London through their lens. Drawing on their insights, she then proposes ways to design more people-centred cities, eschewing bollards and gated playgrounds in favour of loanable urban furniture and “pixel gardens.”

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Film: Concrete Valley
Film: Concrete Valley part of Azure's September October Media Shelf on city living

Inspired in part by director Antoine Bourges’s own journey as a newcomer to Canada, this film (which premiered at TIFF 2022) plays out against the backdrop of Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood. “The area is sometimes described as an “arrival city,” a first landing spot for many new immigrants in Canada,” says Bourges. Its high-rise buildings and neighbouring landscapes, like the Don Valley, set the scene for Concrete Valley’s character-driven narrative, which follows Syrian doctor Rashid (Hussam Douhna), his wife Farah (Amani Ibrahim) and son Ammar (Abdullah Nadaf) as they adjust to their new life. Informed by months of interviews, the movie’s story (co-written by Bourges and Teyama Alkamli) merges fact and fiction and is performed by a combination of first- and second-generation Canadian actors alongside non-actor locals.

Media Shelf: City Living

Three titles that capture the beauty — and challenges — of the modern urban experience.

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