In February, the new PBS initiative Blueprint America brought NPT and public television viewers Beyond the Motor City, a documentary examining how Detroit, a symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America. The filmmakers are now taking the documentary on the road.
On June 17, in celebration of “Dump The Pump Day,” director Aaron Wolf will be on hand for a free screening of Beyond the Motor City at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. The screening, presented by the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and Transit Now Nashville, starts at 6:15, but get there early for a 5:30 reception. To attend, register online or contact Mary Beth Ikard at (615) 880-2452.
Of course, getting there via public transit would be appropriate, so map your ride at the Nashville MTA’s website.
Blueprint America, a unique, multi-platform initiative is harnessing the power and reach of public broadcasting like never before — on-air and on-line — aims to separate the facts from the hyperbole on what’s fast becoming one of the most important stories of our time: the fragile state of America’s infrastructure — its highways, public transit, water, power, airports, seaports — and how we neglect their importance to our lives and our economy at our own peril.
About Beyond the Motor City:
Detroit is the crucible in which the nation’s ability to move toward a modern 21st century transportation infrastructure is put to the test. The documentary shows how investments in the past — beginning with the construction of canals in the 18th century — profoundly shaped Detroit’s physical layout, population growth and economic development. Before being dubbed the Motor City, Detroit was once home to the nation’s most extensive streetcar system. In fact, it was that vast network of streetcars that carried workers to the area’s many car factories. And it was the cars made in those factories that would soon displace the streetcars in Detroit — and in every major American city.
Detroit’s engineers went on to design the nation’s first urban freeways and inspired much of America’s 20th century transportation infrastructure system — from traffic signals to gas stations — that became the envy of the word.
But over the last 30 years, much of the world has moved on, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation and leaving America — and Detroit — behind. Viewers are taken on a journey beyond Detroit’s blighted urban landscape to Spain, home to one of the world’s most modern and extensive transit systems; to California, where voters recently said yes to America’s first high speed rail system; and to Washington, where Congress will soon decide whether to finally push America’s transportation into the 21st century.