White Collar Epidemic: Infrastructure Is Crumbling Our Minds & Bodies

Richmond, Virginia | Film Feature

Documentary, History

Andy Boenau

1 Campaigns | Virginia, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $9,995 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

73 supporters | followers

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Modern infrastructure is crumbling our minds & bodies. Neighborhoods & streets were designed for us to be isolated and dependent on cars. This film will illuminate heroes and villains, provoke critical thought, and motivate people to demand healthy infrastructure.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Our kids are at risk. Our parents and grandparents are at risk. We’re all at risk of losing our minds and bodies to the sedentary lifestyle that’s been forced on us. But our society doesn’t have to keep suffering this way. This is a film about the quest to fill a prescription for healthy living.

The Story

Why This Film?

Every year, you’ll see headlines about how our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, but that’s hardly the real story.

Infrastructure is crumbling our minds and bodies. The built environment is, by design, bad for humans.

Americans are in a public health crisis that feels beyond our control. Anxiety, depression, loneliness, cognitive decline, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, chronic pains – these are all made worse by infrastructure that’s planned around the automobile. 

And here’s what’s so aggravating: the medical community knows what the human body needs, and the infrastructure community blocks it. 

Land use regulations force developers to spread everything out into separate zones, which means everyone’s forced to drive. Transportation policies force engineers to design streets and intersections in ways that prioritize speed, even at the cost of 100 American lives every day.

These trained experts of the built environment are not trained at all in how humans interact in the built environment. 

I'm making a documentary to investigate and expose this white collar epidemic. There isn’t any other film out there like this. Many scientific researchers have documented the connections between health and infrastructure, but no one has put it together in an accessible format.

Our surroundings have a profound impact on our health. 

  • 1 in 2 Americans have a chronic disease.
  • 1 in 3 Americans are obese. 
  • People who don’t live in walkable neighborhoods have higher rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

It gets worse.

Medical research has shown that the top 10 causes of death are all made worse by the way streets, buildings, and the spaces between are designed and built. 

And it's not just our physical health that is at risk. Americans have been forced to substitute pills for healthy environments.

  • 70% of Americans take at least 1 prescription drug.
  • More than 20% take at least 5 prescription drugs.
  • A whopping 80% of Americans over age 57 are taking prescribed medication. 

This is not an attack on pills. Nor is it an attack on cars. This documentary will expose how we're being forced into unhealthy habits without even realizing it.

Studies have shown that people who live in car-dependent communities – which is most of America – are more likely to suffer from mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Being able to walk or ride a bicycle outside improves brain health, our ability to think, our creativity, and overall quality of life.

A doctor prescribes walking, but the patient is unable to fill the prescription. A doctor tells you riding a bike will help treat your anxiety and depression, but good luck surviving the streets.

Healthy activity is prohibited by design. For many Americans, active living – or let’s call it living – is impossible. They live way over there, work way over here, then go to church way out there, then go shopping way over here. Sitting in a car is the only viable option. (I hope I’m getting you fired up.)

It wasn’t that long ago in our history that people got mysteriously sick because they didn’t understand germs. Nobody washed their hands, ever. 

The subject of this film is on that level of importance. There are policies & practices that need to be washed away because of the constant sickness they’re introducing. 

This film is urgent. 

I need your help to tell the stories of people who are being harmed by the built environment. Infrastructure can be healing medicine or it can be a death sentence.

Coming out of a lifestyle-altering pandemic makes this the best time to produce the documentary:

  1. The human body is precious. Americans just experienced a pandemic that exposed the frailty of life, especially for those with preexisting conditions like heart disease, obesity, and cancers.
  2. The human mind is precious. Lives were turned upside down for two years, and many are still reeling from the tumultuous period, struggling now with anxiety and depression.
  3. Cities across the country have made temporary “open street” policies that limit car travel in certain districts. Now is the time to persuade them to make these ideas permanent.

I bring a unique perspective because I've worked in the infrastructure world for 25 years. I know how it works, dirty secrets and all. But what I didn’t know until researching this film is just how bad infrastructure is for our mental and physical wellbeing. 

An infrastructure storyteller?

I bring a unique stack of abilities to this project: storyteller, urban planner, traffic engineer, and marketer. My goal is to persuade and entertain. This story about unhealthy infrastructure is bonkers. You'll laugh-cry through some of these stories.

...with all the necessary gear and skills?

I've received festival awards for each of my previous films. I've also received industry awards for photography, podcasting, writing, and speaking -- all related to storytelling about the build environment. LinkedIn ranks me in the top 1% of the planning and design industry, meaning my connections to leaders in the health and infrastructure industries bring trust to the project.

I've earned a reputation for simplifying complex material, asking provoking questions, and delivering optimism and hope.

My director, editor, and animator isn't just family, he's an award-winning documentary filmmaker.

As I've begun interviewing people from a host of backgrounds and perspectives, I keep coming back to these two themes: 

  1. You and I are at risk of losing our mind and body to a sedentary lifestyle that’s been forced on us.
  2. There is a grassroots path to healthy infrastructure.

Medical professionals know what the human body needs, and infrastructure professionals block what the human body needs. Good urbanism is good medicine, but it's blocked by certified planners, licensed engineers, and elected politicians. Unhealthy infrastructure is a white collar epidemic.

The purpose of this documentary about unhealthy infrastructure is to sound an alarm, provoke critical thought, and inspire people to band together to make their neighborhoods healthy and delightful places to live. 

You might think I’m positive that infrastructure is fixable because I’m an eternal optimist. That’s true, but I’m also right.

We've got to raise 80% of our goal in order to get this documentary rolling. Our goal is $12,000. If we're able to exceed that, we'll be able to invest more in the distribution efforts like cross-country screenings & panel discussions. 

How we'll spend the money

The Boenau crew has what it takes to make this project a reality. Storytelling chops, access to experts, access to normies with stories, and filmmaking skills. We need your help to fund:

  • travel for interviews
  • post-production
  • marketing & promotion efforts
  • festival submissions

Follow & Share

Follow our campaign and stay up to date on the latest news. Seed & Spark rewards us for building our audience.

We need your help spreading the word in order to reach the crowdfunding goal. Please share our campaign via social media, email, or at your local planning department's office. Feel free to copy/paste these messages:


Streets & buildings have the power to make you more anxious, depressed, and just all-around miserable. They could also make you healthy! This documentary will expose how *experts* are making our infrastructure unhealthy. @Boenau is fundraising on @seedandspark & needs your help: https://bit.ly/WhiteCollarEpidemic

Doctors know what’s healthy for the human body. But infrastructure prevents healthy living. Why? Who’s responsible? Check out the documentary crowdfunding page by @Boenau on @seedandspark: https://bit.ly/WhiteCollarEpidemic

Andy @Boenau needs help making a documentary about unhealthy infrastructure. Check out the @seedandspark crowdfunding page for WHITE COLLAR EPIDEMIC and do what I do... donate! https://bit.ly/WhiteCollarEpidemic

Other social media

A doctor tells you riding a bike will help treat your anxiety and depression, but good luck surviving the streets. Please support this documentary exposing just how unhealthy infrastructure is, and what can be done about it. https://bit.ly/WhiteCollarEpidemic

Streets & buildings have the power to make you more anxious, depressed, and just all-around miserable. They could also make you healthy! WHITE COLLAR EPIDEMIC is exposing how experts are making our infrastructure unhealthy. Here's the fundraising campaign: https://bit.ly/WhiteCollarEpidemic

Doctors know what’s healthy for the human body, but infrastructure prevents healthy living. It’s getting worse every year. Why? How? Who’s responsible? Check out the documentary crowdfunding page by Andy Boenau. He needs your support to make this film possible: https://bit.ly/WhiteCollarEpidemic

Things can get better in the end. Thank you so much for helping to make healthy infrastructure a mainstream topic. 

The final documentary will follow some heavy-hitting personal stories about how infrastructure gives life and takes life. 

We already have a tremendous lineup of special contributors. I've had pre-interviews with 20 subject matter experts, and we'll be sharing some of those video clips during this campaign. Here's a glimpse:

Andrea Learned is the host of the podcast Living Change: A Quest for Climate Leadership. She’s an author and global climate influence advisor, with a 25-year career in marketing, communications and thought leadership platform building. In 2022, Greenbiz listed her among the top women cultivating sustainable food systems.

Angela Peacock is a subject matter expert on psychiatric drug withdrawal, consulting with individuals and organizations about how to support people using “deprescribing” as an intervention in their mental health care. Her personal story is featured in the award-winning documentary, Medicating Normal. She’s been featured on NBC, CBS, MSNBC, NPR affiliates, and BBC, speaking about trauma, female veterans, addiction, physiological prescribed drug dependence, and psychiatric drug withdrawal.

Angie Scmitt is a writer and urban planner based in Cleveland. Her book, Right of Way: Race, Class and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America, was published in 2020 by Island Press. She’s an internationally recognized expert on pedestrian safety and works with the infrastructure industry’s leading change makers. Her experience ranges from helping strategize and implement national advocacy campaigns to troubleshooting dangerous commercial corridors.

Ann Sussman is an architect, author, teacher and researcher passionate about how buildings influence people emotionally. She co-authored Cognitive Architecture, Designing for How We respond to the Built Environment, which won the 2016 Place Research Award from the Environmental Design Research Association. Ann co-founded The Human Architecture + Planning Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to improving our understanding of the human experience of place, and serves as its president.

Benjie de la Pena is the CEO of the Shared-Use Mobility Center. He chairs the Global Partnership for Informal Transportation, founded Agile City Partners, and writes and curates Makeshift Mobility. He was the first ever Chief of Strategy and Innovation for the Seattle Department of Transportation, served on the advisory committees for L.A.’s Transportation Technology Strategy, and Cooper Hewitt Museum’s The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility and Design with the Other 90%: Cities.

Chris Bruntlett is the marketing and communication manager at the Dutch Cycling Embassy. He co-authored Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality. Chris uses his knowledge and passion to share practical lessons for global cities wishing to become better places to live, work, and cycle. His latest book is Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in our Lives.

Chris Danley began his transportation planning as a kid in Southern California, walking, bicycling, and taking the bus. He worked as a personal trainer, helping hundreds of people of all shapes, sizes and abilities reach their physical health goals. He formed his own company to focus on the links between the transportation and health worlds in the form of policy analysis, Safe Routes to School planning, authoring health impact assessments, and reporting on the value of a healthy built environment.

Coby Lefkowitz is a real estate developer, writer, and thought leader in the worlds of urban planning and development. In addition to his own projects at his firm Backyard, Coby works with people and cities around the world in the pursuit of creating more beautiful, walkable, sustainable, and dynamic communities for all. He calls his special blend of work “romantic pragmatism.”

David Ederer is an epidemic intelligence service officer at CDC. He’s spent his career at the intersection of transportation and health thinking about how we can build healthier, happier places. He’s served as an advisor to the US Mission to the United Nations as well as on his neighborhood transportation committee. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and three children, but grew up in Buffalo, New York and will never let you forget it.

Dr. David Yang is the President and the Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems: Technology, Planning, and Operations and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Transportation Science and Technology. Dr. Yang is also an advisory board member for a number of university transportation research centers.

Don Kostelec is a professional in transportation planning, health analysis, and comprehensive planning. He is a past member of the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance Board of Directors, past member of the Board of Directors of Bike Walk NC, and has served on the TRB Committee on Transportation Demand Management and the Eat Smart/Move More Leadership Team in North Carolina. Don helps communities prioritize the safety of people over the movement of cars.

Howard Blackson is an urban designer based in San Diego, California. He holds a Masters in Urban Design from the University of Westminster, London, and has over 30 years of professional experience drafting master plans and zoning reform tools. He is a member of the General Services Design Excellence Committee, Chairman of the Congress for the New Urbanism California Chapter, and board member of the Balboa Park Committee.

James Howard Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.” Home From Nowhere was a continuation of that discussion with an emphasis on the remedies.

John Simmerman is a health promotion professional and content creator with over 30 years of committed experience in helping communities globally create a culture of activity through proven "all ages & abilities" design concepts and evidence-based behavior change initiatives. He reaches tens of thousands of people around the globe each week through YouTube and the Active Towns Podcast.

Lenore Skenazy got the nickname “America’s Worst Mom” after her newspaper column “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone” created a media firestorm. She went on to write Free-Range Kids, the book-turned-movement. On TV, you may have seen her on The Today Show, The Daily Show or her own reality show, World’s Worst Mom. Now Lenore is co-founder and president of Let Grow, the national nonprofit promoting childhood independence.

Lloyd Alter has been an architect, real estate developer, and prefab entrepreneur. He teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson School of Interior Design. Alter has been writing for Treehugger since 2005 about architecture, design, transportation, and planning. He has contributed to The Guardian, Corporate Knights Magazine, Azure Magazine, Architectural Record, and Greensource. Prior to writing, Alter was a promoter of tiny homes and prefabricated housing.

Dr. Michelina ("Mickey") Witte earned her M.S. in Psychology and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Florida State University. She is a lecturer at the University of Miami’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, a research scientist and manager of the BikeSafe program at the University of Miami’s KiDZ Neuroscience Center, and serves on the local Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Outside of academia, she is a competitive amateur triathlete, a two-time Ironman finisher, and a passionate road safety advocate.

Peter Norton is associate professor at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, and Autonorama: The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving. His article “Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street” won the Abbott Payson Usher Prize of the Society for the History of Technology. Norton is a winner of the Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize and the Trigon Engineering Society’s Hutchinson Award.

Rusty Keeler is a designer, author, and speaker with a unique sensitivity to the sights, sounds and experiences of childhood. For over 30 years, Rusty has traveled the world designing natural outdoor play environments and speaking about the benefits and beauty of saying “yes” to children’s play. Described as a cross between Mr. Rogers and Jerry Garcia, Rusty is the author of multiple books on play and playscapes including his new book Adventures in Risky Play: What is Your Yes?

Stewart Schwartz is the Executive Director and a founder of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG), advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, transit-oriented communities. CSG has earned the Regional Partnership Award from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the ULI Washington Changemaker Award. Stewart serves on the boards of Smart Growth America, the Virginia Conservation Network, and the Richmond Partnership for Smarter Growth.

Tara Andringa is the Executive Director of Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), a nonprofit coalition focused on engaging with the public about automated vehicles and their potential to improve the safety, mobility and sustainability of our transportation system. She has more than 25 years of experience in communications, policy and coalition management. 


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In-person Interviews

Costs $5,000

Stories are best told in person, so it's important to feature 1-on-1 conversations.

Post-production (picture)

Costs $2,000

Color grading, editing, animation

Post-production (sound)

Costs $2,000

Sound mixing, music, and other audio work


Costs $3,000

Publicity includes pay-to-play, which means advertising, promotion, & film festival submission fees.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Andy Boenau: writer, producer

Andy Boenau brings a unique stack of abilities to this project: storyteller, urban planner, and marketer. His goal is to persuade and entertain. Andy has a reputation for simplifying complex material, asking provoking questions, and delivering optimism and hope.

Andy received festival awards for each of his previous films: Walk Don’t Walk, Streetsploitation!, and War on Congestion. He wrote and produced a video series called Walk Lobby TV. He’s also received industry awards for photography, podcasting, writing, and speaking. 

Andy has grown a social media following to over 15,000 from his content about the built environment, and LinkedIn ranks him in the top 1% of the planning and design industry. His connections to leaders in the health and infrastructure industries bring trust to this project.

Brian Boenau: director, editor

Brian Boenau has a passion for storytelling. He has built a reputation for producing multimedia products that educate, inform, and entertain audiences. Brian is a full-time director, editor, and animator, specializing in documentary content. He also understands how to leverage and optimize multimedia content for news organizations’ social media pages.

Brian is an award-winning director, known for Playthings, Disregarded, Due for Love, One Last Dream, Michael Young, and Reckless Abandonment.

Click here to watch Brian's demo reel here.

Current Team