As I have a backlog of photos all the way back into early summer I thought I'd stick another post up before they get lost or I forget which external drive they are stored on. It's another park-lands post as I have many parks I'm fond of visiting within Glasgow, a city renowned in the past for gangland culture, giant housing schemes, teeming hi rise slums and violence but also one covered in beautiful park-lands, many laid out in Victorian and Edwardian times. This is Bellahouston Park taken from the central hill in the middle looking out over Mosspark, one of Glasgow's early council schemes/ estates and still a desirable area to live in. Many of the houses here are now privately owned. In contrast many of the later tenement and hi rise estates built after that time in the 1950s-1960s and 1970s have been totally flattened and are no longer there. My questions are -Was it the people or the architecture to blame... or a combination of both? And which model of housing works out cheaper in the long run.
As this model was supposedly unsustainable, expensive, and used up large tracts of land for a limited number of residents later schemes/ estates built during the Second World War and after consisted of long rows of tenements, or hi rise living or a new trend -deck access estates. Due to huge numbers pouring into the cities during a time of social upheaval and unrest, resources were stretched, overcrowding and outbreaks of infection/disease required houses to be built on a much bigger scale and fast. The first garden suburb estates generally catered for the upwardly aspirational working classes on decent incomes, whereas the later estates were open to all. Much brighter folk than me are still debating why it all went so wrong in these later estates/ schemes but I know from experience it' s much easier to keep your own property in a decent condition if you have fixed boundaries built around it. (i.e. a garden with a fence or a hedge, even if small in size) You also soon see where any anti social properties exist in estates like these rather than everyone, good or bad, getting tarred with the same brush in the open tenement or hi rise version. There is a reason for this train of thought at the end.
Social Trends in Housing? I found this video a while ago on You Tube and found it fascinating. Although I can understand the architect's point of view to some degree I grew up very close to a similar deck access hi rise estate like the one featured and it went downhill very quickly without any sectarian elements involved whatsoever as did most of the others scattered throughout Britain. The ones that survive today have been extensively redesigned and mainly cater for young professional types or other folk without children. They are not suitable for families in any way and many had dampness, condensation, security and antisocial issues built in from the start. I personally believe, from first hand experience, that deck access estates were never the way forward for ordinary low income communities as they were scary places at night to walk through with a thousand hidden corners and a feeling of menace, isolation and unseen danger everywhere... even in daylight... and that was definitely as much the fault of the design as any input from locals. Most sensible people stayed in and bolted their doors at dusk unless they had a good reason to go out. Flat roofs are never a great idea in UK buildings with the levels of rainfall we get, especially in the north, and you would need a well paid job to afford the massive heating bills to keep these concrete rain soaked tombs warm in winter where the wind howls at speed through the elevated corridors rattling the letterboxes. A very interesting historical look back at the most infamous of the deck access projects in the UK and really worth seeing in full here. Everyone will have a different opinion of course.. they always do :o) Just maybe, if they had built the more expensive low level garden suburb type estates at the start, and kept going, even with cheaper materials, they would still be around today in reasonable shape and work out far cheaper in the long run when you factor in decades of unrest, ongoing repairs, security funding, stress,illness, drug, drink, depression, less job prospects, and other issues... not to mention the cost of demolition then re-building and re-housing most of the tenants still alive. These estates took a heavy toll on people... not just in Ireland but in communities throughout the world... and unbelievably they are still being built today. Estates like these, more than anything else at the time, helped to break up the old social communities and values politicians like to bang on about restoring.