Fifty percent of the world's population live in urban areas. By 2050 this figure is expected to increase to eighty percent. The megacity is both enchanting and scary. But how do we plan these cities in a way, which take human behaviour into account?

In the 20th Century the struggle to provide large numbers of people with proper housing, work spaces and transport led the modernists to create gigantic systems of highrise buildings, industrial estates and highways. The material gains are evident. What are the costs? Jan Gehl’s thesis is that basic human needs for interaction, inclusion and intimacy was somewhat forgotten during this process. Today we face peak oil, climate change and severe health issues due to our rapid growth. With an exploding population we need to double our urban capacity within 30 years. Can a people oriented planning be the solution?

The main question is pressing and includes us all. From the slum of Bangladesh to the financial district in New York. What is a happy life, and can a city make us happy? What is a good city? Is it made of highways, gated communities and highrise structures? Or is it made of bikeways, parks and walking streets? Can architecture meet our human needs in the face of future challenges? The Human Scale meets thinkers, architects and urban planners across the globe. It questions our assumptions about modernity, exploring what happens when we put people into the center of our planning.

Andreas M. Dalsgaard graduated from the National Film School of Denmark as a fiction film director in 2009. He has a degree in visual anthropology from Université Denis Diderot Paris VII in 2004 and a BA in Anthropology from University of Århus 2003.

Afghan Muscles (2007) was Dalsgaard’s debut as a documentary director, and it became a festival hit, winning Best Documentary at AFI Los Angeles and Open Eyes Award at Rome MedFilm Festival. His most recent film, Cities on Speed – Bogotá Change (2009) was selected for Reflecting Images at IDFA and won the audience award at IndieLisboa in Portugal. The short film Copenhagen (2009, fiction – winner of the CILECT Prize 2010, awarded by the world association of film schools) was Dalsgaard’s graduation film as a fiction director.

Dalsgaard is currently finishing the editing of a documentary/fiction hybrid called Travelling with Mr. T (co-directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont) which is also produced by Signe Byrge Sørensen and Anne Köhncke for Final Cut for Real.