The History of Buildings and Industrial Cities

Buildings are something that everyone takes for granted yet people need them in every walk of life. In basic terms a building is when two walls support a roof and they been around for thousands of years. It has been proven that building were used 18,000BC and some people claim that they have been used earlier than that, but there is no certain evidence to support the claims. Many of the world’s earliest cities have remains of older structures and discovered art work in caves and burial sites have proved of these early existence.

Terraced houses packed in tight

Buildings are used for a wide variety of purposes but the most common use in any city is to house people. Everyone needs a home and vast areas of the city are set-a-side to house large numbers of people. There is however no uniform type of housing and there are different styles of houses that are made available for people to occupy.

Over the years the common theme that has occurred is that the wealthy and rich need more space to live in than the poor. This was especially seen as cities grew larger in the UK during the industrial revolution. The housing for the workers were generally in the same areas of the city.

They lived in small back to back terraced housing. There was no room for a garden and the houses were organized but small. Often there would be an outdoor toilet and the only things separating pairs of houses would be ally ways. The owners of the factories did not want to leave in these conditions and would often live in separate part of the city, usually where the prevailing wind blew mostly from. This meant that the factories smoke would not be blown over their houses. The houses were detached, standing on their own with a front and a back garden.

These areas would generally be to the outside of the city and there would be an abundance of green space. There would be parks and gardens and then area would be quite a healthy region to live in. The area between these outer areas and the city center would often be occupied by the managers of the factories, the middle class.

1960’s flats

They tended to live in semi-detached houses. They would have a front and a back garden but their houses would be quite as luxurious, or have as much space, as the upper classes. Often the middle class houses spread outwards in an arterial pattern following nodes of transport such a road or a rail link. When the old industrial cities started to suffer from de-industrialization the inner city areas became poverty stricken. Many of the people living there no longer had a job and many associated businesses went bankrupt as a result of the disappearance of the major employer in the area.

These terraced houses were seen as slum properties as there was so little space and a lot of the ground around the houses had been poisoned by the actions of the earlier industrial period. Large numbers of people were re-located in the city and were sent by the council to go and live in flats. Using blocks of flats to house people if the need is creating as many homes as possible in a small area. Following the Second World War many British cities built numerous flats in order to house their population. It was seen as a good idea as they were away from the old polluted areas, they had plenty of space and they could share certain facilities such as play areas.

The one problem was the councils saw this not only as a good way to house a lot of the people in a relatively small area, they also saw it as a cheap way of doing so. They used every method they could to keep costs at a minimum and this led to the rapid deterioration of the buildings.

Many of the fittings were of the lowest quality. Lights would not work, lifts would break down and the tenants soon saw living in these areas being worse than their old terraced houses. Things needed to change and they have done with more money being invested in flats which has made them a more pleasant place to live in.

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