The Pruitt-Igoe Myth Analysis

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The Pruitt-Igoe Myth is a documentary that explores public housing in Saint Louis, Missouri, in particular the history of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex. Pruitt-Igoe was a public housing project billed as the perfect solution in the early 1950s, to solve the problems of slums in Saint Louis and to bring people back into a city that had seen a population decline from previous years. Saint Louis was an ageing city desperate to regain their postwar prominence as a bustling city, but faced many challenges pertaining to the racial makeup of the segregated city and the loss of many jobs to suburban areas. Many whites had begun to participate in what is now referred to as “white flight”, or the migration of middle class whites to…show more content…
Spatial mismatch is the phenomenon of people, usually black poor people, who are isolated into a neighborhood or ghettos that are far from the jobs and economic growth. There are many implications to spatial mismatch such as the potential workers lack of knowledge about jobs, these people do not have adequate transportation to the job, and there is generally a cost-benefit that discourages many workers from even attempting apply for jobs if they do know about them. When these challenges combine it creates the mass joblessness in ghettoes that lead to crime, drug abuse, and drug dealing. As William Julius Wilson notes, when high levels of joblessness afflict neighborhoods, there exist a lack of social organization or that thing needed to maintain the social order of said neighborhood. Formal and informal controls are all undermined by the lack of economic opportunities, which creates incentives to participate in crime and drug dealing. Since there is no social organization, those who may want to clean up the neighborhood and put an end to the illicit behaviors lack the voice needed as well as the informal structures to clean up the…show more content…
Informal controls once again act in a manner that supports the idea that when neighborhood adults interact in terms of obligations and expectations, they are able supervise and control the activities of children. When this is not present in neighborhoods, such as the one shown in the documentary The House I Live In, the result is the participation of youths in the drug trade and other aspects of criminal life. The destruction of the neighborhood has already been underway as a result of spatial mismatch, but worsens when the war on drug is factored in. These neighborhoods often suffer from the result of the policy known as broken windows policing that doesn’t make situations any better. The policy is predicated on the notion that where there are a few broken windows, there will be more if the windows are not repaired. This specific policy requires the monitoring and over policing of urban environments to prevent small crimes, which often leads to the stop and frisking of individuals. People living in the 77th Cromwell Towers public housing unit, as mentioned in The House I Live In, were experiencing this and being arrested for possessing
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