In 1961, CHPC commissioned the first Executive Director of the Chicago Housing Authority, Elizabeth Wood, to conduct a study entitled Housing Design: A Social Theory.’ Ms. Wood was a public housing pioneer who advocated racial and economic integration and the designing of workable neighborhoods.
Beginning with the sentence “Like all who have loved public housing for a long time, I have felt angry and frustrated at the sight of public housing projects that have the bleak, unloved look of army barracks and institutions”, this fascinating report covered recommendations for ways to make public housing more livable by providing facilities and commercial establishments that allowed for socializing. Suggestions included incorporating pubs, candy stores, and outdoor gathering spaces into public housing developments and were accompanied by delightful sketches of the design possibilities.
The National Public Housing Museum in Chicago are currently developing a special exhibit about music and its role in the formation of community and are using this report as part of their research.
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