70 Acres in Chicago: Cabrini Green

Every Chicagoan should see this documentary (2015) about the history of the Chicago Housing Authority and the controversial destruction of Cabrini-Green Homes on the north side to make way for a 21st-century model based on mixed-income housing. Filming over 15 years, director Ronit Bezalel tracks three longtime Cabrini residents as the hellish high-rises come down and new town houses go up lodging an uneasy mix of lower-class blacks with government subsidies and middle-class whites paying market rates. As Bezalel reports, many more of the project’s original residents were screened out due to negative drug tests and criminal-record checks and shunted off to the south and west sides. “I stay in it, I play in it, I live in it, and it’s home to me,” declares young Raymond McDonald, one of the voices that animate this story of a community in transition. But for those at the bottom of the economic ladder, home is wherever the city says.