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Van Alen Sessions Season One: Tunnel Vision

Van Alen Sessions is an online short-documentary series highlighting current debates about urban infrastructure, presented with The Atlantic and CityLab.

Van Alen Sessions takes viewers on revealing trips through a city’s internal workings, documenting conversations with urban planning practitioners and city dwellers. The series brings together the analysis of experts and the experiences of ordinary people.

Power Lines, the second season of Van Alen Sessions launches in summer 2016.


Season One

The first season of Van Alen Sessions, Tunnel Vision, directed and produced by artist and journalist Kelly Loudenberg, leads viewers through massive tunnel transportation infrastructure projects. With behind-the-scenes research provided by graduate students in design and public policy, this focus serves as a lens for understanding how large-scale interventions impact the way we move in, around, and between cities every day.  The three episodes document what it takes to create the transit networks that shape our routines and relationships.

Episode Three brings viewers deep inside Seattle’s new U Link rail stations before they open in March 2016. Transit activist Jon Cracolici provides personal commentary about this 20-years-in-the-making event, while Sound Transit representative Kimberly Reason and construction outreach manager Gary Bruce explain in clear terms how Seattle is not just a center for information technology, but infrastructure innovation.

Episode Two offers backstage access to the technology lab working on a prototype for Hyperloop, a $6 billion high-speed transportation system connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for The Los Angeles Times, frames the project within the larger context of high-speed rail initiatives in California and the debate surrounding private versus public investment in infrastructure.

Episode One of Tunnel Vision illustrates the $20 billion Gateway Project, a high-speed rail corridor designed to alleviate the bottleneck along the Northeast Corridor. The video offers new vantage points into ongoing tunnel construction, offset with first-hand accounts from New Jersey Transit and Amtrak commuters. Interviews with Petra Messick (Amtrak) and Tom Wright (Regional Plan Association) provide insight onto the current transportation crisis due to outdated infrastructure and deterioration caused by Hurricane Sandy.