american cities visual

Film of the Month: Housing in Our Time and The American City

Housing in Our Time - 1930's Social Guidance 
Produced by the United States Housing Authority of the Federal Works Agency, USA, 20 mins

Housing in Our Time is a promotional film made during the depression in the 1930’s by the United States Housing Authority for Social Housing (USHA).

The film argues that building public housing and raising the living standards of those on lowest income, is a fundamental part of American democratic society – and that the story of homes and how our people live, is the story of the "…foundation on which a nation is built.”

Following the life of a low-income family living in what's described as a Jacksonville ‘slum’, the acute hardships the mother faces while raising her young family under such conditions, are carefully documented.

The film then shifts its focus to the planning, design and construction of the ambitious, large-scale housing projects built by the USHA. As the same Jacksonville family is seen moving into a brand new home in one such development, the film is brought to a close with the bold sentiment that every public low rent housing project, can also be seen as a "…rededication of [American] democracy, to the principle that all men are created equal".

Watch Housing in Our Time


The American City
Dir. Matthew James Thompson, 2015, USA​, 2mins

The American City is a film inspired by the work of prominent 1930’s photographer, Walker Evans – who sought to capture urban landscapes and communities at the height of the Great Depression.

The film blends depression-era historical audio transcripts and moving image with recent footage, to highlight the unexpected parallels and remarkably similar stages of degeneration and transition seen in some of today’s American cities.

Watch The American City 

Image credit: ©The American City

Posted in: Film Of The Month, Recent News
Date: June 30, 2016