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Chicagoist Weekend Theater: A Place To Live

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 27, 2013 5:00PM

The debate over preserving Historic Prentice Women's Hospital and the news of the state of Muddy Waters former Kenwood home had us thinking about urban planning and renewal.

This short film from DeWitt Beall, an advertising executive and filmmaker, was commissioned by the Chicago Department of Urban Renewal in 1968 and defends the city's redevelopment plan for commercial and residential development, and explains how relocation officers can assist those who've been recently displaced.

The narrator in this film does not mince words.

“We are tearing down what stands in the way of a better city. Some buildings must go simply because they occupy space needed for something else, but for the most part, it’s the worn out areas of the city that are making way for the new.”

Sounds a lot like the Prentice Argument. The most surprising element of the film is hearing from the frustrations from displaced Chicagoans about dealing with the city in finding a place to live. Beall doesn't dig deeper into that aspect: this is city-sponsored propaganda we're talking about. But it does give us a glimpse that the more things change, the more they stay the same.