Saint Louis’ famed Pruitt-Igoe urban housing projects were supposed to be a modernist exercise in utopian habitats. Completed in 1955, made up of 33 eleven-story buildings arrayed on 57 urban acres, the complex adhered to the overly optimistic city planning of the time: close quarters would foster community among the tenants, and vertical living would supply a wealth of green space for children and families in the grounds below. Of course, theory bumped up against practice, and racially charged relocation policies combined with poor maintenance to create deplorable conditions in less than two decades. Director Chad Freidrichs (who brought his delightfully paranoid Jandek on Corwood to T/F in 2004) works through the Pruitt-Igoe story and its implications with great interviews, a wealth of archival material and a overarching sensitivity that allows him both a vast historical scope and admirable human-level interest. An illuminating and beautiful piece of work. –True/False
If a housing project ever lives up to its own dreams, white liberals will have earned their smugness; til then, everyone's right to call bullshit. TPIM calls BS from the left: why use public $ on low-income housing & not commit $ sufficient for its upkeep? Why institute welfare policies that break families apart? TPIM mourns its subject w/o addressing whether subsidizing housing is the least of infinite evils.
the visions of a utopia on earth in the modern realm reached from back into europe and had its apparent terminus on fifty seven acres of midwest urbania. realities and the imperfections of human society and endeavors, tragically the dissonance that pushes past the ultimate tensile strength of dreams. a community is only as strong as the will of people and institutions to care for it. 1 corinthians 12:12-27.