Jacobs understood when cities really work they’re phenomena that come from the bottom up. So a great neighbourhood is what happens when thousands of different actors – that’s the shop keepers, bar owners, the people walking the streets – they come together in an uncoordinated, but meaningful way to create the flavour and personality of the distinct neighbourhood. That not ‘planned’, that’s much more a question of organised complexity.
Long after the duct settled and the site was cleared this is the Pruitt-Igoe that remained. The mythical Pruitt-Igoe with a fatal flaw, doomed to failure from he start. Little was said about the laws that built and maintained it, the economy that deserted it, the segregation that stripped away opportunity, the radically changing city in which it stood. In the years of Pruitt-Igoe the American city was wrenched apart by devastating forces. They were felt most deeply by a large, but vulnerable housing on the north side of St Louis. It’s a powerful story with a dramatic end and its after shocks are still with us.