Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series: 70 Acres in Chicago


The filmmakers call it “Chicago’s most hotly contested 70 acres of land.” With its prime central location, Cabrini Green was hailed as a public housing triumph and demonized as an urban disaster. Beginning in 1995, it was demolished, bit and bit, then repackaged as a “mixed income” development, where, unsurprisingly, the former, largely black residents have been marginalized or driven away. Ronit Bezalel and Judy Hoffman, who first covered the subject in their celebrated 1999 short Voices of Cabrini, spent 15 years on this eye-opening follow-up, which uses personal stories, expert commentary, and informative history to celebrate the spirit of a unique community and to mourn its betrayal and destruction.” – Gene Siskel Film Center

In partnership with Place Lab, this screening and conversation with Ronit Bezalel about her award-winning film on the demolition and repackaging of Cabrini Green kicks off a year-long film series exploring the complexities of neighborhood transformation and revealing the poetics of place.

Screening will be followed by a conversation with filmmaker Ronit Bezalel and co-producer Mark Pratt, moderated by Naomi Miller (Place Lab) and Carson Poole (Place Lab)

The Moving Images, Making Cities Film Series is a cinematic companion to Place Lab’s Ethical Redevelopment Salon series and public convenings. Ethical Redevelopment makes the case for mindful city-building. By utilizing cross-city networks and cross-sector innovation, Ethical Redevelopment works to shift the value system from conventional, profit-driven development practices to conscientious interventions in the urban context. For more information on Ethical Redevelopment, visit Place Lab’s website at

(Ronit Bezalel and Judy Hoffman, 2015, 70 min)