Plan for Transformation
In 2011, the last public high rise building at the former Cabrini Green complex on Chicago's northwest side, 1231 N. Burling, met the wrecking ball. In 2007-2008, I spent several months following the Revolutionary Communists, followers of the reclusive Bob Avakian, that had found shelter in an apartment inside the building and utilized the space to encourage often skeptical residents to raise their voices in dissent. With much to lose and little in terms of material wealth, there was no revolution to speak of. However their vision presented an alternative to the Chicago Housing Authority's "Plan for Transformation," a city-wide effort to transform, or as critics charge, eliminate - public housing. Large swaths of prime Chicago real estate on the Near North, Near West and South Sides were turned over to for-profit developers at the height of the housing boom.