The Most Infamous Public Housing Projects

Illustration for article titled The Most Infamous Public Housing Projects

The U.S. government originally used the term "projects" to refer to the improvements expected from the construction of subsidized housing plots for the poor. Instead it has become synonymous with inner-city blight and crime. What happened?


NewsOne has taken a look at the history of seven of the most infamous examples, examining their original purpose, their changing racial compositions and their place in American history. Read about a few of them here:

Pruitt-Igoe, St. Louis, Mo.

Because Missouri public housing was racially segregated until 1956, the 33 11-story buildings were originally built to house segregated sects of young, middle-class whites and blacks. As St. Louis' white population fled for the suburbs, the projects' residents became almost entirely black.

Unlike most public housing plots, Pruitt-Igoe survived for only a short period of time. It was fully demolished by 1976.

Queensbridge Houses, Queens, N.Y.

Architects designed this collection of six-story buildings in a unique Y shape, hoping to give its 7,000 residents more access to sunlight.

Since then they have become inhabited by predominantly African-American and Latino families. Like many of the infamous housing projects, Queensbridge was home to a host of notable hip-hop artists (Nas, Marley Marl, MC Shan, Roxanne Shante and Mobb Deep).

These projects were in the headlines in 2005 after New York authorities raided them to dismantle the infamous "Dream Team" drug syndicate.


Robert Taylor Homes, Chicago

Named after Robert Taylor, the first black student to enroll at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology back in 1888, the Robert Taylor Homes were at one time the largest public housing development in the country. They were once home to Mr. T, athletes Kirby Puckett and Maurice Cheeks, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.


Plagued by widespread poverty, the Robert Taylor Homes recorded some of the highest rates of violent crime and gang activity in Chicago.

Read the rest of the list at NewsOne.

In other news: VIDEO: Oakland, Calif., School Closure Protests.