Multimedia Collection

Imagining Home: Planning an American Dream

HD7288.78 .U52 P675 2009 DVD

Imagining Home tracks the complete transformation of Columbia Villa — a historic, cherished, and maligned Portland, Oregon public housing neighborhood enduring poverty, gang violence, and racial discrimination — yet hoping for a new chance.

Despite notable failures in the social engineering of America's urban poor, the “Villa” is demolished and rebuilt as a controversial, mixed–income development. The film follows several main characters over five years through displacement, relocation, and return to the new development. A poignant sense of loss and deep yearning for stability provide deep emotional undercurrents. But despite numerous obstacles, the tenacity and cooperative work of residents like Terry, Millie, Marie, Luvenia, and Nicole, move the charge to rebuild the soul of their community.

But when New Columbia is re-inhabited, tensions around race and class threaten newfound stability. How will homeowners meld with public housing families? Will gangs once again derail this neighborhood? Who really has “ownership” in a mixed–income community? Imagining Home humanizes the effects of top–down planning policies and demonstrates that to truly reinvigorate our cities, we must work to understand and empower all members of the communities we develop.

Produced and directed by Sue Arbuthnot & Richard Wilhelm.

Distributed by Hare in the Gate.

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