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A Requiem for Chicago's Cabrini Green Housing Projects

“70 Acres in Chicago” chronicles what happened when the city tore down the Cabrini Green projects to replace them with mixed-income housing.
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Hellen Shiller

Ronit Bezalel has spent 20 years filming the brick-by-brick dismantling of the Cabrini Green public housing projects in Chicago for her recently released documentary 70 Acres in Chicago. The dwellings figure prominently—and sometimes notoriously—in the American imagination, largely through its portrayal in TV shows like “Good Times” and movies like Candyman and Cooley High. They were built in the early 1940s in an area near downtown Chicago that had been a neighborhood mostly composed of Italian families. By the 1960s, it had become a predominantly black community, with nearly 15,000 families living in Cabrini’s mostly high-rise apartment buildings.

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