Chicago Housing High-Rise to Illuminate as it Falls

March 27, 2011

After the world turned off its lights for Earth Hour, a Chicago housing project that is about to be lights out will instead light up.

The last standing high-rise at the Cabrini-Green public housing project is scheduled to be demolished beginning this week.

To mark the end of the controversial housing development, one battery-powered LED light has been placed in each of the building’s 134 vacant apartments and will twinkle each night from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Twenty-two Cabrini-Green buildings have already been razed; as this final one at 1230 N. Burling Street comes down, so will the lights.

Project Cabrini Green is a public art initiative created with youth from Chicago, most of whom are attending educational programs in the Cabrini-Green area or who are students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Each blinking light has a unique pattern that visually represents poems written by the students. The idea behind the project is to empower Chicago’s youth to have a voice on social issues in creative ways.

The poems and which apartment each is associated with will be documented on There will also be an exhibition, including live-feed video footage, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

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