So This is Hollywood: Video as a Tool for Environmental Change
A screenshot from EMBARQ's video about pedestrianization in Arequipa, Peru.

A screenshot from EMBARQ's video about pedestrianization in Arequipa, Peru.

Originally posted on

EMBARQ [the producer of this blog] today hosted a video presentation and brownbag discussion about how videos can be a tool for environmental change, focusing specifically on stories about sustainable transport and urban planning.

The event, hosted at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., was led by Ethan Arpi, EMBARQ’s strategic communications and marketing manager, who explained how videos can effectively influence an audience of government officials, transportation and urban planning professionals, donors, and the general public to make sustainable transport a reality in cities around the world.

EMBARQ has produced four videos so far on the following topics: SmartBike DC, a bikesharing program in Washington, D.C.; pedestrianization in Arequipa, Peru; the re-branding of the Los Angeles Metro system; and the Metrobus bus rapid transit system in Istanbul, Turkey.

Arpi explains how the videos, which explore local issues, have international and cross-cultural appeal, and ultimately,  have potential to create outcomes in the real world. For example, a video about how Los Angeles re-branded its metro system with a successful marketing campaign inspired the director of Mexico’s National Infrastructure Fund (FONADIN) to require all future proposals for transit investments in the country to include a marketing and communications plan.

Likewise, a video about Istanbul’s Metrobus system was shown during a meeting of key stakeholders in Mumbai, India, and now the city has expressed interest in working with EMBARQ to design and implement its own BRT corridor.


Dave Cooper, EMBARQ’s video production and design manager, emphasizes how high-quality three- to five-minute videos are an effective storytelling medium. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million,” he says.

Ideas for future videos that will be produced by EMBARQ this year:

  • Seoul, South Korea: Converting an elevated highway into a pedestrian space and restoring the Cheonggyecheon River
  • Medillin, Colombia: Improving accessibility for residents of the city’s nearby slums with a Metrocable project
  • New York City: The city’s plan for sustainable urban development projects, including pedestrian spaces, bus rapid transit and bicycling lanes
  • Mexico City/Guadalajara, Mexico: BRT systems
  • Guayaquil, Ecudaor: Waterfront revitalization, plus a new BRT system

“Video seems intimidating to a lot of organizations with limited budgets,” Cooper says. But new technology has made it cheaper and easier to produce beautiful visuals. Check out this video, for example,  that tells a compelling story about climate change, as part of Greenpeace’s My Voice campaign. What looks like a high-budget production was actually made with an affordable digital SLR camera.

Watch the two videos shown during the EMBARQ-hosted event:

Mercaderes Street, Arequipa, Peru from EMBARQ Network on Vimeo.

LA Metro: Promoting Mass Transit from EMBARQ Network on Vimeo.

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