HomeThe house famine and how to relieve itPagina 37

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Socialists should aim at getting the housing of al! people into the
j hands of local authorities as soon as possible; and the basis of com-
l petition should be made as fair as possible by the rigid enforcement of
the Public Health Act and the various sanitary and building byelaws
# made under that Act. All tenement houses should be registered,
, - and the requirements as to cubic space rigidly adhered to, and
. houses hopelessly dilapidated should be condemned. Each step
should be preceded by a supply of municipal dwellings, so that
those who are thus forced out of unhealthy houses could at once be
received into sanitary ones. ·
A great diiïiculty will arise, however, in fixing all rents by·the
cost of production. Under a scheme of municipal housing, lt is
, found that while the better­off mechanic who has a small family
, may take one of the larger, and consequently more expensive, cot-
ig tages, the laborer with smaller means musi do so. New and very
wide questions arise when the public authority begins to enforce the
" , Public Health Act on its own property (am! tkzls zlv the mb pziopergw
' 072 whzb/z 2% cmz realb be ejiczeazäy ergfbv/cedj, and the really difficult
ii problem will then be faced, viz., how to house the poor man Wltlü
A the large family, and so to fix his rent that it shall be within his
ability to pay it. An ingenious attempt to solve this has been made
T by the Urban District Council at Hornsey. Here the largest and
· the smallest dwellings pay more than their share of rent in order
that an intermediate size-for which there is great demand-may
have accommodation at less than cost price. The natural tendency
‘ of human nature to value an article according to the price paid,
makes all quite contented with the arrangement. When all the
houses of a locality belong to the local authority, a system which
" would tax the needlessly large houses in order to lower the rent of
those houses which would be in demand among the poor would
seem to be a fair arrangement; but that the mechanic should be
taxed for the laborer does seem rather hard.
( III.-Decentralization and Cheap Locomotion.
It may be said that the farther from the centres of our great towns
l and cities the housing of the people is carried out, the more hope there
) is for its ultimate success For economic as well as for sanitary reasons,
( the further housing of the people in London is most undesirable and
{ may become most disastrous. It must never be forgotten that there
i are two kinds of overcrowding :
I (1) Overcrowding in houses or rooms ;
(2) Overcrowding of houses or persons on area. l
All attempts to house the working classes in London itself must mean '
( overcrowcizäzg 07z area at least. The rent of a given site must be re- (
_ duced to a reasonable sum for each tenant by placing more and more ;
ä houses on top of one another until they have so divided the ground- F
3 rent between them that it becomes a possible one. The inconsistency
( of the Local Government Board refusing to sanction the putting up j
E of back­to­back houses, while permitting them to be placed on top of {
ä one another, as well as back­to-back so long as they are called " model