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St. Louis, Missouri

Pruitt-Igoe's Remains

An urban forest overtakes what was the greatest failure of utopic urban housing 

Where once stood America’s most notorious public housing project, today is a fenced off urban forest in the middle of downtown St. Louis.

Pruitt-Igoe was opened in 1954 as an urban housing solution, but just a decade into its habitation it was overtaken with crime. The neighborhood of towers was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, best known for his design for the World Trade Center. It’s hard for stories to speak from rubble, but to the ex-residents of the buildings this site is still potent with memories, both good and bad, of the towers which spiraled so far from intentions they were publicly dynamited and seen as the death of modern architecture.

It’s a graveyard for the buildings, it’s a graveyard for the residents who lost their lives in the struggle to maintain, and it’s a graveyard for the ideas which failed 10,000 people nearly half a century ago — they’d been promised a fresh start, but all’s that came of it were trees. 

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