NFB

Each of these individuals shared their stories with the years-long HIGHRISE project, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

For the past two weeks, CityLab has had a special focus on the past, present, and future of highrises across the globe, thanks to a unique collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada. Along with a series of original stories, the centerpiece of our Highrise Report is the new NFB-produced interactive documentary Universe Within: Digital Lives in the Global Highrise. If you haven’t yet explored Universe Within, we encourage you to take the time to do so this weekend. It’s a truly immersive storytelling experience that offers a multitude of perspectives on how technology is changing the lives of global tower-dwellers.

CityLab jumped at the chance to host the U.S. premiere of Universe Within because we’re big fans of the larger NFB-produced HIGHRISE project, the years-long, many-media exploration of highrises directed by the filmmaker Katerina Cizek. In addition to Universe Within, which serves as the conclusion to HIGHRISE, the series includes the interactive films Out My Window (2010), One Millionth Tower (2011) and A Short History of the Highrise (2013).

Taken together, one feature that really stands out about HIGHRISE is just how many individual residents have been willing to share their stories with Cizek and her team since the project launched in 2009. Below, with Cizek’s help, we’ve gathered a collection of some of the best portraits of her HIGHRISE subjects from around the world.

Jacky Kemigisa, from Uganda, featured in Universe Within (2015). Photo by Rebecca Vassie. (Courtesy NFB)
Durdane, from Istanbul, Turkey, featured in Out My Window (2010). Photo by Brett Foster. (Courtesy NFB)
David, from Havana, Cuba, featured in Out My Window (2010). Photo by Lazaro Saavedra. (Courtesy NFB)
Brittany, from Chicago, USA, featured in Out My Window (2010). Photo by David Schalliol. (Courtesy NFB)
Ivaneti, from São Paulo, Brazil, featured in Out My Window (2010). Photo by Julio Bittencourt. (Courtesy NFB)
Horn, from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, featured in Out My Window (2010). Photo by Martin Potter. (Courtesy NFB)
Sylva, from Prague, Czech Republic, featured in Out My Window (2010). Photo by Sylva Francova. (Courtesy NFB)
Elia Soledad Baltazar Gonzalez, from Mexico City, Mexico, featured in Universe Within (2015). Photo by Monica Gonzalez Islas. (Courtesy NFB)
Yoko Azuma, from Tokyo, Japan, featured in Universe Within (2015). Photo by Ivy Oldford. (Courtesy NFB)
Deepti Goshal, from Mumbai, India, featured in Universe Within (2015). Photo by Mrinal Desai. (Courtesy NFB)
Elizabeth Gaki, from Nairobi, Kenya, featured in Universe Within (2015). Photo by Georgina Goodwin. (Courtesy NFB)
The Madi Family, from the West Bank, featured in Universe Within (2015). Photo by Louise Nylen. (Courtesy NFB)
Jamal, from Toronto, Canada, featured in One Millionth Tower (2010-2014). Photo by Jaime Hogge. (Courtesy NFB)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  2. A photo of a visitor posing for a photo with Elvis in downtown Nashville
    Perspective

    Cities: Don’t Fall in the Branding Trap

    From Instagram stunts to Edison bulbs, why do so many cities’ marketing plans try to convince people that they’re exactly like somewhere else?

  3. Amazon HQ2

    Without Amazon HQ2, What Happens to Housing in Queens?

    The arrival of the tech company’s new headquarters was set to shake up the borough’s real estate market, driving up rents and spurring displacement. Now what?

  4. Transportation

    With Trains Like Schwebebahn, No Wonder Germans Love Public Transit

    Infrastructure like this makes it clear why Germany continues to produce enthusiasm for public transit, generation after generation.

  5. Equity

    The FBI's Forgotten War on Black-Owned Bookstores

    At the height of the Black Power movement, the Bureau focused on the unlikeliest of public enemies: black independent booksellers.