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New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism

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New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism
File:NUC-DVD POSTER copy.jpg
Poster for DVD release
Produced byGolden Apples Media
StarringMichael E. Arth
Music byB. Bush
C. Gear
C. Verdeaux
M. Ravel
V. Thomas
CinematographyBlake Wiers
Michael E. Arth
Edited byBlake Wiers
Distributed byGolden Apples Media Inc.
Release date
  • September 30, 2007 (2007-09-30) (Global Peace Film Festival)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

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New Urban Cowboy: Toward a New Pedestrianism is a 2007 documentary film, and DVD release, about American artist and urban designer Michael E. Arth, his New Pedestrianism movement, and his efforts to rebuild the cities, beginning with "Cracktown," an inner city slum in DeLand, Florida. This 83-minute international edition—with subtitles in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese—was re-edited from a 100-minute version that made the film festival circuit in 2007. The earlier version was titled New Urban Cowboy: The Labors of Michael E. Arth.[1][2]


Modern-day polymath Michael E. Arth and his pregnant wife, Maya, travel on a cross-country trek from Santa Barbara, CA—where they lived in a spacious villa surrounded by waterfalls—to a ruined and dangerous neighborhood in a small town in Florida. Arth buys 32 homes and businesses, and turns the slum into downtown DeLand's "Historic Garden District." With guns that shoot nails and staples instead of bullets, and with gentle persuasion instead of violent confrontation, he pushes out the drug dealers and other criminals, and then creates a retrofitted model for how to build new towns and neighborhoods. Arth also proposes building a Pedestrian Village with work opportunities as a solution to homelessness. The film also follows the development of his urban design philosophy, New Pedestrianism, and ends on an upbeat, optimistic note with a vision for the future. There is also a section, documented with archival footage, which chronicles Arth's early life and struggles as a surfer, artist, builder, and home/urban designer.[1][3]

New Pedestrianism[edit]

New Pedestrianism (NP) is a more pedestrian and ecology-oriented variation of New Urbanism in urban planning theory, founded in 1999 by Michael E. Arth. NP addresses the problems associated with New Urbanism and is an attempt to solve various social, health, energy, economic, aesthetic, and environmental problems, with special focus on reducing the role of the automobile. A neighborhood or new town utilizing NP is called a Pedestrian Village. Pedestrian Villages can range from being nearly car-free to having automobile access behind nearly every house and business, but pedestrian lanes are always in front.[4][5]

Connection to book[edit]

Arth's Garden District project was also an attempt to create a living laboratory in order to try out some of the ideas in a two-volume book that he was writing titled, The Labors of Hercules: Modern Solutions to 12 Herculean Problems.[4]


New Urban Cowboy is the first in a series of three documentaries explicating Arth's ideas about problem solving and future trends. The other two films, scheduled for release in 2010, are The Labors of Hercules: Modern Solutions to 12 Herculean Problems and UNICE: Universal Network of Intelligent Conscious Entities.[6]


In general, New Urban Cowboy received highly favorable reviews, even in the earlier, film festival version. According to the official website, the documentary has been featured in twelve film festivals and received the Audience Choice Award at the Real to Reel International Film Festival in 2008.[7][8][9] Academic reviews about Arth's urban design philosophy, New Pedestrianism, as expressed in the movie (and elsewhere) were also highly favorable.[2][10][11]


  • Michael E. Arth: Producer, Cinematographer
  • Blake Wiers: Editor, Cinematographer
  • Helena Lea: Music Editor

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Teri Pruden, "The New Urban Cowboy: Michael E. Arth transforms Cracktown into Historic Garden District in DeLand" DeLand Magazine, Jan-Feb, 2008. Pages 8, 9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 New Urban Cowboy review in Carbusters Magazine, issue #32, Winter 2007/2008, page 26.
  3. Michael E. Arth, "New Pedestrianism: A Bridge to the Future" Carbuster's Magazine #33, Spring 2008, p. 23.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Michael E. Arth, The Labors of Hercules: Modern Solutions to 12 Herculean Problems. 2007 Online edition. Labor IX: Urbanism Archived 2008-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Michael E. Arth, "New Pedestrianism: A Bridge to the Future" Carbusters Magazine #33, Spring 2008, p. 23
  6. Golden Apples Media-Reviews of New Urban Cowboy
  7. "Finding and Filming Peace, Locally and Around the World (review of New Urban Cowboy) by film critic Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel, Sept. 21-27, 2007
  8. "A Really Great Documentary You Should See" Greg Dewar, The N-Judah Chronicles, Sept. 27, 2007. Review by Greg Dewar Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Seeing Stars: Reviews are in for Film Festival" Review of New Urban Cowboy by Jeff Farance, Daytona News Journal, October 4, 2007, 8E
  10. New Urban Cowboy review in New Urban News, by Robert Steuteville. October/November 2007, page 15
  11. "Bold Visionary Sets Sights on City" The Star Phoenix (Saskatoon, SK, Canada) commentary by columnist Gerry Klein, Sept. 26, 2007.

External links[edit]

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