Inhalt des Dokuments
Sabine Horlitz: "The Construction of a Blast: No Random Crisis. The 1972 Demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe Public Housing Project"
The various positions one can take in the discussion
about the shift from the fordist to the postfordist city also imply an
evaluation of society’s present-day social concepts and urbanization
processes. In the debate on the historic interpretation, the
symbollically charged image of the 1972 demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe
public housing project has often been drawn on as evidence for the
failure not only of the architectural project of modernity but also of
social welfare public policies. Both in architecture- and urban
planning theory as well as in actual politics it has been used to
indicate the crisis of the fordist urbanization model. Yet, this
overly use of the image cannot only be seen as a somehow insufficient
or superficial illustrative argument in a political debate. Through
its extensive reproduction and respective decontextualization it
finally serves as a means of depolitization and naturalization of the
very thing it points at, the urban crisis – and thus legitimizes the
subsequent postfordist measures as both adequate and inevitable.
Starting from the assumption that there is neiter such thing as a natural crisis, nor one which just happens beyond the play of power relations, the paper aims at discussing the predominant pictorial politics of Pruitt-Igoe’s representation by linking the notion of the urban crisis to the extensive use of the blast’s image and by contrasting both issues with the collective grass roots actions of the tenants as well as the state-run social programs undertaken in the last years of the project’s existence.