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American Makeover: An Online Film Series About New Urbanism's video poster

American Makeover explores how new urbanism provides an alternative to sprawl and a convenient remedy for some of America's most daunting problems. Read more

Buffalo, NY Webseries
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pledged of $15,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on May 8, 2010.

American Makeover explores how new urbanism provides an alternative to sprawl and a convenient remedy for some of America's most daunting problems.

Buffalo, NY Webseries
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About this project

Last summer, in our spare time, we created a short little film which won a prize, garnered over 80,000 YouTube hits, and got blogged in The Atlantic, Fast Company, and other mainline and new media outlets--all this because we had the audacity to claim that the greatest threat to our planet was cul-de-sacs. Well, not only cul-de-sacs. We were really pointing our finger at the entire system of suburban sprawl. You can watch the video that caused all the fuss, "Built to Last," at

We think "Built to Last" struck a chord because in the last few years Americans are slowly coming to the realization that suburbia is not all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, suburban sprawl is causing a lot of problems, and its not necessarily delivering on the idyllic life that it originally promised. So what is the alternative? We hope to show you.

Our project is to visit six cities across America to create six short webisodes about new urbanism. Each episode will profile an actual town or neighborhood, giving viewers a first-hand look at new urbanism and what its like to live there. The six episodes (approximately 5-8 minutes each) will be released online at our official website and YouTube channel.

Finally, we’ll compile all of these episodes, along with "Built to Last," into a DVD. We think the DVD will be an invaluable tool for community leaders, urban planners, architects and mayors. It will allow for public screenings and group discussions at community meetings where urban planning and civic design choices are being made.

For more information go to:
Our website at
Follow us on Facebook at:
Follow us on Twitter at:

New urbanism promotes the creation and restoration of diverse, walkable, compact, vibrant, mixed-use communities. Incidentally, the ‘new’ in ‘new urbanism’ is a bit of a misnomer. It is not a new technology or invention so much as it is a return to traditional neighborhood design--the way cities and neighborhood were designed before the onset of suburbia (roughly speaking, the 1950’s). It’s the alternative to suburban sprawl, and the convenient remedy to some of our most daunting problems like oil-dependence, climate change, traffic jams, and even obesity.

The New York Times called new urbanism "the most important collective architectural movement in the United States in the past fifty years." But don’t take their word for it, we’ll take you to six new urban places to see how they were designed, how and why they work, and what it’s like to live, eat, play and work there.

So that’s our new film project we’re calling American Makeover, but we need your support to make it happen! Please consider Kickstarting our film into reality with whatever financial contribution fits your wallet.

Pledges will help create six online episodes and a compilation DVD. Specifically, funds will cover travel expenses and basic infrastructure costs to build and maintain the official website, and the initial manufacturing / first-run of DVDs.

If we reach our goal, we will continue with additional episodes in season 2, and we’ll develop a feature length documentary further exploring this topic.

THANK YOU!!!!! - Chris, John, and Drew


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  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    4 backers

    We’ll list your name on the Thank You! list at our official website. But the real reward is knowing you helped bring our video series to life promoting an alternative to sprawl.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    11 backers

    All of the above, PLUS a digital download of the DVD.

  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    6 backers


    ALL pledges of $35 or higher will receive one entry into the CNU 18 FREE PASS SWEEPSTAKES.
    One winner will be drawn to win a 4 day pass to CNU 18 worth up to $585 on April 7th.

    The annual congress for new urbanism (CNU 18) is the leading venue for new urbanist education, collaboration, and networking. Interested people come from around the world to discuss development practices and public policies, learn from recent innovative work, and advance new initiatives to transform their communities. For more information go to

    All $35 pledges receive an entry into the sweepstakes, their name listed on the Thank You! list on our official website, and a digital download of the DVD.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    10 backers

    All of the above, PLUS signed copy of the DVD.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    12 backers

    Two signed copies of the DVD, PLUS listing in the credits of each online episode and on the DVD under “Special Thanks.”

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    2 backers

    Sponsorship – (3 available) Pre-roll credit on one episode. We will display your company logo and website and short promotional message on the opening of one episode.

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer

    Patron – (1 available) Pre-roll message on all six episodes (both online and within the DVD videos) PLUS sponsorship credit (your company logo/website) presented on the DVD packaging. Unique branding opportunity for architectural / design firms who specialize in new urbanism / traditional neighborhood design!

Funding period

- (89 days)