Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Myths of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

A new film laments the housing project’s failure for mostly the wrong reasons.

Progressives have long sought a revisionist history of Pruitt-Igoe, the 32-building public housing complex in St. Louis famously demolished in 1972. An historian interviewed in Chad Freidrichs’s new documentary, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, describes the stakes well:
 “We don’t want people to think of Pruitt-Igoe as a failure if they’re going to then translate that failure to all public housing or all government programs or all social welfare or all modernism. That’s what Pruitt-Igoe has been freighted with.”
 Indeed it has: the startling image of the Minoro Yamasaki-designed complex collapsing into dust and rubble—eerily foreshadowing the collapse of the World Trade Center, which Yamasaki also designed—became a symbol of liberal reformers’ shortcomings: their skepticism about the virtues of the private economy and their excessive faith in the abilities of technical experts and of government to serve not just as protector, but provider.

Read More: http://www.city-journal.org/2012/bc0217hh.html

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