« 99% Invisible

99% Invisible-44- The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

2012-01-05 | 🔗

The Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis became most famous at the moment of its demise. The thirty-three high-rise towers built in the 1950’s were supposed to solve the impending population crisis in inner city St. Louis. It was supposed … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Freedoms. Would I go Miss begins here. This is Chad, Fredericks, so prude I knew was a public housing project that existed on the north side of Saint Louis projects. Is the director and producer of the documentary proof I go was thirty three eleven story buildings made. It was part of a larger urban renewal campaign that the city was undergoing in the nineteen. Forty two fifties: it was tat it s a solution. A cure for the disease is viewed kind of Israel.
Placement for no rise. Tenement housing people who have been living with literally never saw the fun and so prune idea, which must be everything different. Now they would have more magnificent views than the richest people in Saint Louis was high rise, whereas the private market housing was low rise, it was federal and therefore I you wouldn't have the creeping influence of slum lords coming in and basically being derelict landowners. It was an opportunity to present poor residents with light and air that was really the driving factor behind crude. I goes design tall. Modern buildings would give access to fresh breezes sunlight. The sun remedy to the unhealthy conditions in the inner cities. Laughs at least that was the thinking put IVO, would rise above the source of ways like away hotel resort. I'd, say green grass robbery and all the work. What happened
well, one they woke up in the Middle fifty Saint Louis far, it is probably local housing needs, but instead a monster was created in the film the prude. I go myth. It's made it very clear that the project wasn't just a monster in the beginning, especially it represented hoped, has thousands of people who never thought they live in a clean knew that things went down him very fast.
They all were originally jammed into these thirty three buildings. Only twenty five hundred people still lingered in the remaining shells, maintenance dropped off, elevators trash incinerators broke and remained broker. Vandalism and crime rates rose. What they always ask yourself is: why was it like this? Why do I live here? What did I do wrong? I think it is clear that a massive the inhabitants they weren't, feared about nothing that manifested itself away ass. My auntie, the tenets din reinstate the vandalism then existed improved. I came from an environment. Things allowed to do is get too
people? I really can't it's easy to look at prude. I go and think that almost every decision that was made was a bad vandalism, led the house and authority to install a bunch of unbreakable designs and the towers instead of trying to enhance their existence, will just make things so they can't be destroyed. Everything had to be protected. Life fixtures. No light expose their will shields around with mass metal. Protecting above the city made a big deal about this. They had their PR department actually came up
Indeed, they had the installation of these new unbreakable lights that we're going out. You know they brought in all these people in the press. The only human reaction to be presented with an unbreakable object is to try and break out the fact that it was indestructible made. You wanted to try to destroy things. There was a screen around the light. Boston kept you from breaking up, but in all cases we can find way break you just put water and they went up and the light would get hot and would get hot, and it would be right and light
two decades after opening. Through it I go. The government gave up because they are so desperate. They are willing to try desperate the housing authority. Blew it up. The press was invited, it started with rebuilding the nineteen. Seventy two the rest followed. The image of the implosion. With this Saint Louis Gateway Arch in the background, became infamous the poet I go. Myth begins here. It was viewed as It was kind of viewed as an end of an era, so there are now several years later, Charles Jenks Rights, his book on postmodern Orkut, picture and he opens his book with Peru. Diagnose implosion. Is the death of modern architecture, which leads to this question. How well known would prove I go be if you didn't have their implosion image. You know if, if it's not blown out- and you don't have any image with the arch in the background- and at some point it would we be discussing for it. I don't? I don't think so. You know I mean there's something becomes an icon because it's been visually record. It there's something about that: building in free fall
that acts as better evidence than anything else for failure. That image was so powerful, so full of emotion that it can easily be used to support any previously held beliefs or prejudices about federal housing or modernist architecture, or even the for themselves and tell people who use a constantly as such. That's what people think when they think of public housing and they think of large scale federal program. It's just an architectural De Leon: here's a building, that's being imploded because it was bad architecture. Bad architecture is one of the major cited reasons for why prude I go failed, but that actually is a factor that Chad, Fredericks, puts a lot of stock in architecture was a marginal influence. If any on crude, I goes demise.
This is an overreaction that I tend to look I'm as far away as I can from the design of the building. Simply because I see so many other compelling factors improved. I goes decline. I dont like to try to take prove it. I go out of the city in which a resides in. I think many of the discussions that people have about prove it I go. I tend to do that. They tend to look at prude. I go as something that somehow divorced from the city of Saint Louis and what I went through in those years. What Saint Louis went through with a completely unprotected population decline the utter member fruit I, your comes out of the nineteen When you nine Housing ACT and a nineteen, forty nine, the population of most major cities in urban corps, was rising in his rising relatively rapid People coming into the cities for jobs from rural areas, and so Saint Louis, was undergoing the same process where they just had the crowds and crowds of people coming into the city, and so The idea was well. We need to find a place to put all of these new people in a way that doesn't lead.
Kinds of slums that you had in earlier years. Going all the way back to the Nineteenth century factory setting the understanding amongst city planners and city officials. That the population would continue to rise to a population of about a million from a hundred thousand from nineteen. Fifty two nineteen, seventeen, so over the course of those twenty years, there's an expectation that the city would rise. Maybe twenty percent in terms of its population, what happened with the exact opposite, the bottom dropped. The cities. Population answer population started to move to suburban areas out of the city in this process. Was aided by the exact same nineteen forty. I'm federal Housing act that offered federally underwritten loans to buy houses in suburbia. We started to see a population still ago was undercut by the very law that created into the plaintiff aerodynamic
keen eye. Eighty saint Louis had half the population that it didn't. I keep fifty and that trend continues to this day. What happens is you? You build this massive project to house all these people were coming into the city and when those people don't come and the peaceful do you intended to be living their move out? All the son. You have a vacancy crisis in that's really what gripped Saint Louis during these years. So, given that the major architectural or design flaw that China tributes to my surprise, I go was the sheer scale of the project it was built so big and they're just simply weren't enough people depopulated by the nineteen seventies and and so that's the real tragedy, a protagonist in something that is very difficult to predict as well the scale doomed protocol from the start, the high vacancy rate meant that the house, an authority couldn't clucked enough money to pay the magnets. Both the money for operating and maintaining the buildings was to come from the incomes of the rents from the tenants things began to break conditions, deteriorated more people, laughed less rack could be collect
Everything has got worse and worse I mean I should like to say that prude I go is an easy scapegoats. Its high rise in and that something in are mostly low rise. Society is viewed negatively in some circles. Its public housing is opposed to private market housing and its demographics are extraordinarily poor and almost a hundred percent black, and so what I like to do when discussing prude, I go is to try to think about a different scenario, and conveniently that scenario happened across the street here to interpret. I go in the late nineteenth sixties and you are to travel due west out approved. I go, and so you and what you do is you across Jefferson You cross the street into the low rise private market, housing that existed across the street. What you would see would be similar levels of pay Pretty you would see the same kinds of maintenance issues.
Those low rise private market buildings. You would see the same kinds of vandalism that existed improved. I go and oftentimes you actually see higher crime rates in the surrounding it Then he saw prude. I go and no one really ever talks about those low rise market houses that existed around crude. I guess it's always brood. I go evil focus on it. The focus on fruit I go is understandable. When you see an aerial photograph of Saint Louis at the time, the impact of prude, I go those thirty three buildings. The footprint that they make in the city is just enormous. To me, it had very little to do with the fact that for a tiger was public housing very little to do with it. It was high rise. It had almost everything to do with the decline of the city in which they reside.
Ninety nine percent invisible was produced by me, roman Mars, with support from lunar, making a difference with creativity. It's a product of K. The elder United one point: seven, local public radio in San Francisco, the American. Instead of architecture and the centre for Architecture Anderson, ninety nine percent, invisible, is distributed by p r acts that public radio exchange, making public radio more public find out more accurate startled. Then then they presented visible, entered his name sampling spent to find out more about the show season. Pictures I go and watch the trailer of the Pruitt Igoe Go Miss Guerrero website, it's ninety nine percent, invisible darling,
Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.