Tag Archives: Gary Burns

‘Radiant City’ explores suburban sprawl

TORONTO, RADIANT CITY, a new documentary feature from filmmaker Gary Burns and CBC Radio journalist Jim Brown, explores life in Canada’s booming suburban municipalities. Opening in theatres on March 30th, the film questions the impact and sustainability of the population surge just outside the country’s major metropolitan centres.

According to recently released results from the 2006 Census, Canadians are being lured to the suburbs by larger homes and more affordable living, but at what cost?

Sprawl is eating the planet. Across the continent the landscape is being leveled, blasted clean of distinctive features and overlaid with a zombie-like monoculture. Politicians call it growth. Developers call it business. The Moss family, the subjects of RADIANT CITY, calls it home. As suburban communities are examined and criticized by a chorus of experts, including James Howard Kunstler (author, The Geography of Nowhere), Joseph Heath (associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at U of T, co-writer of the bestseller, The Rebel Sell), urban planner Beverly Sandalack and Ken Greenberg (former Director of Urban Design and Architecture for the City of Toronto), filmmakers Burns and Brown peer into the windows and lives of those who call suburbia home.

Rummaging through a toy box of cultural references, from Jane Jacobs to The Sopranos, they create a provocative reflection on why we live the way we do. Venturing into territory both familiar and foreign, they turn the documentary genre inside out, crafting a vivid account of life in the Late Suburban Age.