Mixing it Up
The urban American landscape is rapidly changing, as high-rise public housing is being demolished and its residents dispersed. Once heralded as a revolutionary design solution to address a pressing housing shortage, Chicago’s public housing structures have rapidly deteriorated, and living standards have become sub-standard. Mixing It Up uses film to explore the redevelopment of Chicago’s public housing. Ronit Bezalel’s documentary examines, through the words and voices of current and former public housing residents, the long-term impacts of these changes on the very people they are supposed to help, and the implications of these effects for society as a whole. The film provides residents’ perspectives on and scholars’ responses to the urban redevelopment of Chicago, while creating a historical record of communities that will cease to exist. Mixing It Up will be shown in a variety of community venues, and used to spark debate about the effectiveness of public policy to demolish high-rise public housing and create low-rise mixed-income communities. The film will address a range of questions: How do these changes actually impact residents of public housing? What happens to the communities that once lived in these high-rise physical spaces? And, can implementing a physical solution remedy a social problem? The film is the sequel to Bezalel’s critically acclaimed Voices of Cabrini: Remaking Chicago’s Public Housing (1999). Mixing It Up picks up where Voices of Cabrini left off, focusing less on the act of tearing down public housing than on tracking what has become of those displaced in the process.