Film Explores Pathologies of Highrise Public Housing at the Capitol Theatre

Tue 4/17 @ 6:30PM

The next film in the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization’s Racial Equity and Inclusion series is the 2011 documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. It looks at a short-lived and failed model for public housing projects that was being promoted after WW II as a solution for tenement slums: large clusters of isolated highrises which became a different type of slum. They infested the Chicago landscape when I was growing up.

While not as vast as the sprawling Robert Taylor Homes or as infamous as Cabrini-Green (both located in Chicago), St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe became a symbol of the model’s failure. Opening in 1954, Pruitt-Igoe started to decline almost immediately, and had degenerated into a hive of poverty, crime and violence before the decade was out, and all of its 33 building were blown up in the mid 70s.

In The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, the filmmakers explore how the social and cultural changes that were challenging cities across the country in the 50s and 60s led to the pathologies seen at Pruitt-Igoe — and Cabrini-Green and Robert Taylor, all of them gone now.

The film screens at the Capitol Theatre and will be followed by a discussion in the upstairs meeting room of XYZ the Tavern kitty-corner from the theater. There will be food and a cash bar there. Movie admission is $5.

pruitt-igoe

clevelandcinemas

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