The status of the Pruitt–Igoe housing estate in St Louis, Missouri, as a symbol of everything wrong with modernist building practices, graduated very quickly from analysis to aphorism. As a fable, it’s a transparent oversimplification. Enter The Pruitt–Igoe Myth, if not to rehabilitate, at least to complicate the narratives that surround the housing project. At the film’s historical centre is an analysis of the massive impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s, which prompted the process of mass suburbanization and emptied American cities of their residents, businesses, and industries.

How can we give back the dignity of social housing and learn to appreciate public housing estates again?


Chad Freidrichs has been in the film and television industry for over a decade, and served for five years as assistant professor in digital filmmaking at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. He has produced four feature-length documentary films, including The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, which played at over sixty film festivals worldwide, was theatrically distributed by First Run Features, and was nationally broadcast on PBS’s America ReFramed. He most recently completed a science-themed archival documentary, The Secrets of Nature Revealed.