New Urban Cowboy

Location: Little Art Theatre

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.
 

February 20
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