For anyone interested in urban planning, public housing, and the lessons we can draw from the past in those fields, The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is essential viewing. It chronicles the rise and fall of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex that “graced” the St. Louis skyline from 1954 til 1972. If you don’t know of Pruitt-Igoe, perhaps you’ve at least seen this iconic photograph, showing its demolition:
In the decades since Pruitt-Igoe’s demise, much has been speculated regarding what exactly caused the project to fail so dramatically. Mismanaged social welfare? Modern architecture? Poor economic conditions? In interviewing past residents as well as experts on urban policy and St. Louis, the film makes clear the Pruitt-Igoe complex had all the above factors and others working against it. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth aims to bypass the generalities and get at the heart of why Pruitt-Igoe failed from a decidedly personal perspective of the tragedy.