Andreas Dalsgaard


C4C - what was the main drive or motivation for you to film Human Scale?


A - the funny thing is that I am not a big biker. I like bikes, but here it is such a normal thing to do, i have experienced many places, where it is more of a political decision to be a biker. For example in the USA, if you bike people identify themselves as bikers, where in Copenhagen it is just a normal and practical thing to do.



There is reason for that - we have never forgot to ride a bike, in other places cars took over in 60's, 70's and people moved to the suburbs. We never forgot to bike because danish biking union in these critical years was organising huge demonstrations to protect the rights of bikers in the city. If you have the public push, then you get the political will as well.

To cut the story short (laugh) I studied anthropology, so i was interested in what the elements are, that create our culture and our values in cities. I directed Bogota Change and worked with two politicians and it was interesting to see how you can achieve change in Bogota and succeed with it, well and Enrique Penalosa kept telling me about this danish architect Jan Gehl and that i should really look into it, so it was a continous shift from Bogota Change to Human Scale.



C4C - I wanted to ask about China as i was surprised about the different approaches in towns you visited while filming Human Scale, I wondered where the responsibility was, as it seemed that it really did come down to one person.


A- we often look at China as one country but then it is the mayors and local politicians that have lot of power. You can also have a global policy and right now China has pretty bad global policy. For example if you build a new road you need it to have 80 metres, why so wide? Well to fit in all the cars they expect to have in a few years. At the same time they want to protect small businesses, so they put shops next to the road, the result is, that no one is going to walk next to the road which is 80 metres wide packed with traffic.

The funny thing is that most people acutally like Jan Gehl's approach. They'd say, yes, i can see how that works, but then it is not copy-paste solution; it's a very complex thing and you have to work on it in order to create the right mix for your place.



C4C -  Is there something that surprised you while working on the film being it either local politician or are yo grateful for some experience which brought you a new perspective/view on something in particular?


A - I was a bit ovewhelmed with Dhaka, because if they are going to build what they are trying to, it will be a disaster for the country - economically socialy, and they will put themselves into huge depts in order to build it. The place is so dense that if you start putting people into cars in any great measure, then you will never be able to solve traffic problems in Dhaka. It was very sad/scary to see, what will happen. Then you will face abandoned Dhaka, which means that everyone who can afford it will leave the town and you can see that happening already today.

Another thing which surprised me was to see how succesful the pilot projects can be. Because it's difficult to convince people. If you tell me that i'll be happier on a bike, i'll probably say: f*ck you, who are you to tell me... but these pilot projects help to bridge the gap and allow people to try new things.


C4C - Once done with the movie, are you happy with it, did the feedback fullfil your expectations?


A - I am happy with the fact we did it in 7 months from the idea to finishing (C4C- woooow), but of course i think, that  there are some things, which could have been done differently if we had a bit more time. It was also a bit criticised that it gives more questions than answers.


C4C - How difficult was it to get money for such film?


A- It was one of the reason why we were able to finish it this quickly. The movie was supported by danish foundation, which invests in good architectural projects. And we wanted to protrait Jan Gehls impact in the world so that is how we got together and worked on it from there.



C4C - what to expect from you in near future?

A - currently we are working on a film from Columbia, focusing on corruption and recent presidential election. On how it can be manipulated because there was Antanas Mockus running for president starting with 1 or 2%, where one month before election he had 60%, but then things turned around. The film should be finished within one year so watch out for it to see what happened.


C4C- Any last words?


A- Stick with the Human Scale it will change your life :-).


Thank you for your time.


Michal - C4C.