Public Access

CityLab shares its favorite videos—old and new, serious and nutty—that tell a story about place.

A still from a 1940s film shows two children sitting in front of ranch-style houses.

When Public Housing Was Suburban-Style and White

In 1945, Portland made a short film celebrating the low-rise, landscaped Columbia Villa, a public-housing project for white Portlanders.

a screenshot of a video about Baltimore's Metro

It’s Time to Celebrate Baltimore’s Much-Maligned Metro

In 1987, the Maryland Transit Administration busted out a brass band to open a subway that never had a chance.

A Designer’s Airport for the Jet Age

As this 1958 Charles and Ray Eames film shows, Dulles was truly designed for modern air travel.

What I. M. Pei Had Planned for Oklahoma City

The late architect and planner had some very big ideas for Oklahoma City in the 1960s. But the final result wasn’t exactly what he had in mind.

A Canadian Hockey Brawl Over Subway Art

At a Toronto station that fed fans into the city’s hockey arena, a 1985 mural that depicted the Maple Leafs’ biggest rival enraged team owner Harold Ballard.

It’s Time to Feel the Sexy Pulse of a 1980s Transit Mall

The original vision for the Buffalo’s failed car-free-zone downtown was always a fantasy, as this TV spot shows.

Long Live the World’s Greatest Local TV News Theme

Philadelphia’s “Move Closer To Your World” has some new fans this week, thanks to a viral video.

Chicago’s ‘Shapes’ Return 50 Years Later

John Massey’s minimalist designs are back on State Street in the Loop for the rest of August.

An Early Glimpse of London's Eternally Somber Euston Station

As seen in this 1968 newsreel, not even Elizabeth II’s odd, feathered hat could enliven the modern transit hub at its grand opening.

Building London’s Town of the Future

A 1970 film celebrates the construction of Thamesmead, the largest housing project development in the city’s history.

How To Ruin a Historic Town, According to 1970s British News

A clip charting the redevelopment of the city of Aylesbury shows its age.

Drake’s Latest Video Is a Throwback to a New Orleans That No Longer Exists

“In My Feelings” surfaces the places where you can find a good po’ boy. That’s great for the tourist, but doesn’t mean so much for the people and cultures that define the soul of the city.

A 1959 Sneak Peek at Lisbon’s Metro System

Just before the transit service began, locals saw this short film on television and movie screens across the city.

The Teen Who Wanted to Fix Atlanta’s Noise Pollution Problem

In the 1970s, one local high-school girl went to some of the loudest parts of the city to see just how bad the problem was.

Touring Milan’s Metro System in the ‘80s

Transit workers and passengers share their insights on the growing system in its early years.

A Community Restores Its Keith Haring Mural

Three decades after the beloved New York artist visited a school in Melbourne, the mural he made has finally been conserved after significant decay.

When Portland’s Nuclear Defense Drill Was Televised

Credits for the 1957 CBS airing of The Day Called ‘X’  list the cast as “the people of the city of Portland, Oregon.” City officials, including the mayor, got lead roles.

Seeing the Beauty in Ukraine’s Soviet Architecture

The authors of an upcoming book on the nation’s most threatened buildings have a dramatic short film that makes a case for preservation.

Imagining a ‘Canadian Anti-Tourist League’

In a short 1950s comedy, a small group of grumpy natives celebrate awful customer service in the hopes of keeping Americans away.

A Soviet Synthpop Tribute to the Private Vehicle

A love for cars among today’s middle-aged Muscovites surely traces back to this song from their teen years.

The American Heroes of St. Louis’s Gateway Arch

Monument to the Dream gives the construction workers behind an American design icon their proper due.