As a follow-up to my St. Louis weekend, I finally watched The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, a documentary which Katie Schuering recommended to me a very long time ago and stuck around on the same “to do, eventually…” list which still includes (and I promise this is true) the vague one-word entry “Kierkegaard”.
Anyway. You should too. Pruitt-Igoe was a famous public housing project in St. Louis which followed a trajectory familiar outside America too: built in the 1950s as a shiny modernist answer to urban slums, it soon spiralled into neglect and decline, before being demolished in the 1970s and forever after held up as the kind of ‘big government’ failure on which the Reagan myth depended. But quite obviously – and this is the story which the documentary tells – this happened in the context of a mass exodus from the city to suburbia. And aside from everything else, mass suburbia was built on an astonishingly upfront and explicit racism. It was the ultimate segregation project, and it plundered everything from the urban civic core.
On a more positive note for the future of urban renewal: Chicago is buying new trains 🙂
And when the children of suburbanites rejoin the city, one of their many fun leisure options will be concerts like the Chvrches show I saw with Randi on Monday night. I’m a fickle music listener who mostly hops from one catchy song to the next without much allegiance to the artist, so it’s really rare that I see someone where I’ve actually listened to whole albums and have an above-average chance of recognising each song. Unsurprisingly, it’s much better this way too. Later in the week, I savoured Marco Rubio’s pleasingly humiliating primary exit on Super Tuesday II with Catherine, lost many rounds of Fibbage 2 at Toggolyn’s, and finally lured Josh onto Skype. (He treats the technology a bit like contemporaries tried to take in the moon landing.)