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The Invisible City: Houston's Housing Crisis

Houston's Housing Crisis

With Adele Naude Santos

Nov 11, 2018, 03:15 PM Rice Cinema $12.00 Get Tickets

This event is in partnership with ArCH Film Festival.

Arguably, James Blue’s most ambitious project, this “complex documentary” (in Blue’s words)  was originally made in five one-hour episodes as an interactive public television series. The sixth episode, which summarized the series, will be screened today. Blue and renowned architect Adele Santos take us on a tour of 1970s Houston, a divided city, growing in the midst of an oil boom. Skyscrapers going up, unemployment going down. One thousand new residents were arriving per week. But the filmmakers see two cities. Visible Houston is populated by well-educated citizens earning high wages with no state or income taxes.  Invisible Houston, for whom the most basic city services did not exist, was inhabited by poorly educated citizens earning low wages. Thanks to the boom, both had jobs, but a hardworking resident of the invisible Houston could be living in a car or a tin shed.

 “The complex documentary began with a concern for and a commitment to changing a particular situation in an urban culture in which Blue himself lived. It was not to take a side but to explore all the facts in their complexity, and to research the problem in books and interviews and consultations with as many citizens from every strata [sic] involved in the issue, either as manager or victim.”

--Dr. Gerald O’Grady, professor, film historian, and James Blue archivist


Country, Year United States, 1977
DirectorJames Blue and Adele Santos
Runtime59 MINS, 00 SECS
Event TypeFilm
Special Guests

Adèle Naudé Santos

Adèle Naudé Santos is principal architect in the San Francisco-based firm, Santos Prescott and Associates. Her architectural and planning projects include affordable housing in California, Japan, and Africa; the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Center in San Francisco. Santos has received housing awards and honors including the 2009 Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education.  She  served as the Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT from 2004 to 2015.  Her academic career includes professorships at University of California Berkeley, Harvard University, Rice University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she also served as Chair of the Department of Architecture. While at Rice in the 1970s, she co-directed the pioneering Invisible City series with Rice Media Center founder James Blue.