City Lights, Camera, Action!

Some of our favorite movies featuring some of our favorite cities.

just for fun, urbanism, philadelphia, pennsylvania, tokyo (city), tokyo (prefecture), japan, rome (city), rome (province), lazio, italy, mumbai, maharashtra, india, chicago, illinois, detroit, michigan, san francisco, california, baltimore (city), maryland, europe


Woo Kim


Talia Manning


Anna Ishii

Ever watched a movie and said, "Wait a minute! I know that place! I've been there!"? As planners, architects, urban designers, and landscape architects, we're always shaping and reshaping the built environment. Sometimes the memorable places, buildings, and landscapes that we create are featured in movies, leaving an indelible imprint in the memories of millions of viewers.

We polled our staff for favorite movies featuring cities and compiled the top ten list below. Drum roll please...

  1. Trading Places (1983)—1980s Philadelphia front and center
  2. Lost in Translation (2003)—modern day Tokyo as co-star
  3. Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)—solving puzzles in NYC
  4. National Treasure (2004)—treasure hunt in modern Philadelphia
  5. ROMA (1972)—vignettes of Rome over decades
  6. Eat, Pray, Love (2010)—Rome, Mumbai, Bali
  7. The Blues Brothers (1980)—the quintessential Chicago movie
  8. RoboCop (1987)—dystopic Detroit
  9. Dirty Harry (1971)—you feel lucky in San Francisco, do ya punk?
  10. The Wire (2002)—Baltimore from many perspectives

To top it off, we've worked in almost all these cities.
A Civic Vision for the Central Delaware
Baltimore Inner Harbor
San Francisco State University Master Plan