Screengrab via YouTube
These buildings were razed in the 1970s but they still cast a long shadow across St. Louis.
St. Louis has had a long history of economic and racial tension in relation to housing. Housing in St. Louis has often been segregated by skin color and economic status, long before rich white people started pulling guns on strangers on the gated, private streets of St. Louis’ wealthy Central West End.
Released in 2011, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth
digs into the history of a public housing complex named Pruitt-Igoe on the north side of the city. Built in the 1950s, the housing complex was first advertised as a solution for poor families to avoid high rental costs while still enjoying community and many amenities.
But the buildings quickly fell into disrepair, they weren’t serviced properly and they ended up overrun with garbage and damaged by flooding. Residents who were too poor to move out were forced to endure an avalanche of other issues, too, from crime to lack of utility service.
The severely damaged buildings were razed in the 1970s but they still cast a long shadow across St. Louis.
With stunning vintage footage and emotional personal accounts, the documentary digs into the evolution of this housing development and how it came to represent a whole host of racial and economic tensions in the greater St. Louis area.
The entire fascinating film is streaming for free on Vimeo through the end of July. You can watch a short trailer on YouTube
or catch the entire stream on Vimeo
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