Pruitt-igoe. Ghetto. Missouri, USA.
Pruitt-igoe-komplekset i Missouri, USA, er (var) et præmieeksempel på social segregering som nedslidningsfaktor. Foto: WikiCommons

4. januar 2018

Arkitekturen tages som gidsel i ghettodebat

Sociale problemer har intet med boligen og arkitekturen at gøre, men skyldes åbenlyst en bolig-og socialpolitisk forskelsbehandling af borgere, skriver chefredaktør Martin Keiding i kølvandet på den (gen)opblussede debat om ghettoer.

Mennesker uden arbejde må bo billigt, og finder de ikke selv et sted, visiterer samfundet dem videre i systemet til boliger, som kommunen eller staten disponerer over.

Samler man mange mennesker uden arbejde det samme sted, kan der opstå problemer i forhold til lov og orden.

Disse problemer har intet med boligen og arkitekturen at gøre, men skyldes åbenlyst en bolig- og socialpolitisk forskelsbehandling af borgere.

Et faghistorisk præmie-eksempel på social segregering som nedslidningsfaktor er Pruiit-Igoe-bebyggelsen i St Louis, Missouri, opført 1954 og færdignedrevet i 1976.

En artikel i The Guardian fra 2015 belyser sagens kerne: 

“Pruitt-Igoe became a byword for the kind of dysfunctional urban abyss that, during the decades of ‘white flight’ after the second world war, Americans who had the means believed they were escaping by moving out of cities. From the safety of their new, suburban communities, they looked upon central cities as too dirty, too crowded, too criminal – and, in many regions of the country, too black.

Not even Pruitt-Igoe’s heartiest apologists would call it a success. Its 2,870 units reached a peak of 91% occupancy in 1957, a figure that would plummet below 35% by 1971, when just 600 people remained in the 17 of the complex’s buildings that were not yet boarded up. Reports proliferated of property crime, gang activity, drug dealing, prostitution and murder. Heaters, toilets, garbage incinerators and electricity all malfunctioned, and at one point the faulty plumbing let loose floods of raw sewage through the hallways.

Though built for the middle class, Pruitt-Igoe became an economic and racial ghetto soon after it opened, in large part due to bad timing. The design, drawn up when Missouri law still mandated the segregation of public facilities, originally designated the Pruitt half of the complex (named after second world war fighter pilot Wendell O Pruitt) for black residents only, and the Igoe half (after former US Congressman William L Igoe) as white only.”

For aktuel opdatering: Læs Fra ghetto til blandet by. Stender og Bech-Danielsen (Gads Forlag, 2017 – uddrag her)