The Pruitt-igoe Myth: An Urban History - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pruitt-igoe Myth: An Urban History Reviews

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½ August 2, 2015
I thought it was one of the best documentaries I've ever seen and it also happened to be extremely insightful into the general human condition of that era.
June 7, 2015
The idea of the Housing Project seems like such a good idea in theory, but in practice it fails miserably. This heartbreaking documentary should be educational viewing for anyone who has ever said, "We give 'them' so much and 'they' just ruin it. The Pruitt-Igoe was not meant to be segregated; various economic and cultural forces, bad guessing, and racism made it so. The interviewees who lived the Pruitt-Igoe myth express at first joy at having a clean, healthy home and then sorrow at its devolution into a cruel reminder of what society really thought (thinks?) of them. Their stories are truly worth hearing, and this documentary tells the story of a dream disintegrated and eventually demolished.
September 2, 2014
Mankind in microcosm?
½ August 26, 2014
This should be studied in every school, not only in the US, but in every country. I strongly feel that those in power are creating a global Pruitt-Igoe project.This is an important film on many different levels.
November 3, 2013
Further evidence as to how we came to be as a society. Really captivating.
September 24, 2013
I really liked this documentary. Great for sociology majors! Excellent look into all perspectives on this....lets you get a good perspective on urban sprawl, projects, inner city living, and a great array of personal stories. Sad story but definitely interesting...if you like documentaries....definitely put this on your list!
½ September 15, 2013
Typical poor planning by government in public housing.
September 8, 2013
Deeply emotional and a tragic experience. A must see movie
July 28, 2013
Interesting enough to hold my attention to the end, but unless I dozed off for a second I can't for the life of me recall that they ever established what the "myth" was. Also slightly dissapointed that they didn't even discuss some of the building design flaws that DID contribute to it's ultimate decline. OK as far as "It's 2am andI can't sleep what's on Netflix" documentaries go.
July 3, 2013
an intriguing documentary detailing the rise of a city and it's well intentioned efforts and conversely it's failure and ultimate birth of a ghetto
May 15, 2013
Great documentary about what went on in the Pruitt-Igoe projects. The story revealed many of the policy flaws and lack of long-term planning involved in the enormous buildings. I read about them in urban planning school, but it's nice to see them up close in video.
March 24, 2013
Frightening that the government has that much control and uses it to prey upon the poor and the uneducated to keep them poor and uneducated. Quite devastating really.
½ March 17, 2013
Eye opening and often chilling examination of the public housing experiment in St.Louis. Film deftly mixes several poignant and stirring interviews with impressive footage to chart the history of the Pruitt-Igoe housing complexes. A fascinating look at the many problems of urban living at the time, with repercussion that are still felt today.
½ March 16, 2013
Documentary may lack solutions, but still provides a valuable understanding about why a housing project failed.
March 13, 2013
I think the film is fantastic. The narration explains every element that could have lead to the downfall. Links with some conversations about Robert Moses here in New York. What makes a city? and Who are these mega blocks not as effective as one would assume? They take away from shared spaces and sense of community. They create cold seclusion.
½ January 6, 2013
I really enjoyed this documentary and how it debunks many of the preconceptions or rash conclusions that some architects, planners, governmental figures, and social scientist come away with when looking at the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex. This documentary correctly explains that the failure here is an individual set of circumstances and that this is a unique problem that does not speak for all public housing or all of modern architecture. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the film is the wide variety of accounts and experiences from the actual Pruitt-Igoe tenants. Surprisingly, not all of them were bad, especially people who were there earlier. This helps to better understand the people who lived there and the real reasons Pruitt-Igoe failed.

It goes on to explain how issues of race lead to poor planning and decision-making that hurt the entire city. It shows how damaging the white flight many cities experienced during the Mid-Century suburbanization was, particularly in St Louis. The federal government funded an overbuilt the project expecting continued urban growth when the postindustrial wave hit the city causing St Louis to lose a substantial portion of its population and tax base. Pruitt-Igoe did not have enough tenants to pay rent, the shrinking city had no tax revenue to take care of it and the federal government was hands off after construction. As expected, the building fell into disrepair and became notoriously unsafe. There are many lessons from this painful urban disaster, and this film does a fantastic job brining light to the subject.
½ December 3, 2012
A very engaging story told in the realm of a discovery - This is a human story well told.
½ November 27, 2012
Excellent doc about a place that's always intrigued me.
½ October 14, 2012
Fascinating documentary on the factors that contributed to the failure of St. Louis' public housing experiment, both widely known and overlooked. It illustrates the project with an abundance of stock footage and stills, as well as multiple interviews with former tenants and urban specialists. The experiences of the former are quite poignant at times. It seems like the worst of the effects could have been prevented if a funding source beyond the independent city of St. Louis' tax revenues could have been found in order to keep maintenance and security budgets flowing, even as the tenants would still only be able to pay highly subsidized rent. If it was maintained more like an hotel, it might not have failed so spectacularly. However, the film does go into factors beyond the project's design, such as postwar economic realignment and de-industrialization of the inner city, white flight, the collapsing revenues and de-crowding/rent rate decline in the inner city that followed those two factors, and policies based on discriminatory attitudes toward the poor, their stereotypes, and ethnicity. One of the implicit messages of the film is that Le Corbusier-influenced high density housing can work, but for a public complex, a rock solid revenue stream for maintenance and security needs to be identified before construction and occupancy. If that revenue can't be found to make up for the difference that affordable rents create, then the project should be market rate (my commentary), in order to keep things in working order. (14 October 2012)
½ September 25, 2012
It's impossible to watch this film and not be affected. Simple, well produced and powerful. Perfectly edited.
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