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During the Second World War nearly four million British homes, many in poor condition to begin with, were destroyed or damaged; afterwards there was a major boom in council (estate) house construction about city areas. Prior to the war many social housing projects were built. However the bomb damage meant that much greater progress had to be made with slum clearance projects. In cities like London, Coventry and Kingstone upon Hull, where bombing had been particularly damaging, the housing estate schemes, as can be seen today, were quite extensive and the architecture at time considered modern, some radically.
Residential housing estate designs are the usual form used in what are termed new towns, designed after World War II as autonomous suburbs centered around small commercial centres, designed to minimise traffic flows and provide recreational space in the form of parks and greens. They were a direct result of Abercombie’s 1944 housing plan and ultimately of the 1949 New Town Act. The first built was New Bracknell (see fig. 1), incorporating “a traditional high street with eight pubs, a cattle market, shops, a cinema and a garage” (Building the Twenty-First..., no date, Chapter 3:3). Conceived in response to the growing number of slums in city, Bracknell quickly became the poster child of the UK’s struggle to keep pace with housing needs of the working class.
Since then housing estates have not only proliferated but have expanded in scope toward the countryside in more upscale formats. Many, along with the city project, critics charge do not maintain the cultural and architectural heritage of the nation. It is the city projects that normally draw the most criticism for becoming ramshackled hotbeds of crime and drugs among their working class inhabitants—“viewed as problem places and home to problem people” (Dean; Hastings, 2000: vii).
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11 Pages(2750 words)Research Proposal
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