You could almost say the the need for high tower blocks is to have architectural statements (art for art's sake) and not for more people on a given area of land...
Like modern art, you either like it or hate it....
---------- Post added at 12:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:27 PM ----------
I presume it's the one you are talking about.
The terrace block touching the NW corner of the green area has about 40 dwelling units and few more on the North end. It alone would take up much more than half of the "blocks" area. Since the towers are about 54 flats each, the blocks are more dense. At the redevelopment (gentrification) level they can even be 108 flats per block, far exceeding the terrace house block density.
(There's none so blind as...)
Please be polite and don't confuse me with Chase - I have stayed polite...
What about St Georges heights, Everton. Wasn't there plenty of green space around there ??
The tower blocks on Menlove ave - not in a park, but are in tree lined surroundings. These flats have always kept well as far as I can tell. I've not been in them, but they have always looked nice in pleasant surroundings.
And no it's not that subjective. Liverpool and Wirral Waters have a lot higher density than anything we've looked at here. Going high is a way of getting that density without a big 'footprint', If you built the medium coverage (ie., footprint) option, the houses at the bottom would be in a deep dark pit.
As I said earlier the driver for high residential tower blocks in Kirkby and elsewhere was cost more than anything else. If you build 20 floors you have a 1/20th the roof area and 1/20th foundation area (albeit possibly deeper). Given the standard of provision of services and the industrialised construction methods (factory panel systems) the downside on services and structure were minimal and the corresponding savings are huge.
That would be very attractive to any council who couldn't get the money from government to build anything else (and a big fat infrastructure bill to pay)
Sounds great but the Ronan Point gas explosion pointed out that workmanship on site needs to be as good as in the factory. And it all came tumbling down.....
Seems to me the real issue for high rise tower blocks was lack of 'ownership' or feeling of belonging (so that the place was looked after on a daily basis) and the cost of the war on vandalism depleting the maintenance budget.
---------- Post added at 12:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:27 PM ----------
I did have a quick look at that. Did you take into account that the houses can be in flats? It would obviously be out of whack to compare 3 bed houses with 1 or 2 bed flats.
Yes Peter, thank you. I hope you had a good repast. I'm hoping to catch the Chelsea match at 7.45 on ITV, but don't think I'm running away, I would like your thoughts on post 131.
I'm sure it fits into your thread entitled Housing Mistakes. I do apologize for rising to the bait over "the layers of the onion" holdings. I'm easily led, that's why I'm still on the tag. (Scouse humour, honestly)
---------- Post added at 08:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:56 PM ----------
And renting is not slavery by any other name. There are many across Europe who enjoy larger and rented homes. Where the alternative is low disposable income and effective slavery to a bank.
You may have deluded yourself that you benefited from ownership. Whereas in fact you didn’t own anything. You may have had a succession of property all if which were actually owned by a bank who charged you for the privilege of living there - life’s a mortgage (or procession of mortgages), then you die. You want to be more careful what you pick up in the school corridor.
And your charming little vignette of social and class envy has little to do with the economics of the housing standards on Cantril Farm or on the size of the dwellings. Rather, the fact that wholesale creation of new communities on ‘virgin’ land is inherently expensive is more relevant.
It is not merely the cost of building a house, it is the cost of everything that comes with it (roads, sewers, services, drainage etc). The landed gentry did not benefit from that, they simply sold land. For them the end of the story.
[As an aside, it’s interesting that you can reap the rewards of the system and that’s clever and ok but it’s not ok for anyone who’s been doing it for a bit longer than you].
It’s small wonder that so little communal facilities (shops...) were built, particularly assuming there were precious few tenants to put up the money that would allow them to be built.
Ken Rogers has been very eloquent on the lost tribes as has Terence Davies although maybe rather less sentimental and a bit more realistic. But indeed, we might have done better to stay in Kirkdale and build medium density housing phase by phase but you have to look at the constraints of the time - lack of funds, the massive urgency and the real fear of the outbreak of serious disease - there you go Chas (but I’ve never owned a Golf).
And don't forget, it was tried (staying) and it was a dream to go out to the suburbs. A garden and a house of your own. You needed a letter from God to get in... isn't hindsight wonderful.
But. We should be doing it now.... http://itsliverpoolcityfringe.blogspot.com/
Surplus? what surplus? - numbers! I've got a Chelsea match that I'm missing.
Last edited by az_gila; 03-14-2012 at 09:01 PM. Reason: sppelling
Chelsea won incidentally. The match went into extra time.
I try to avoid any Manchester games but it's getting harder to avoid them. ( semi- jokingly)
Post 131 is not urgent.
Apparently it was required during the high demand time of soldiers returning and houses lost to bombing - and the start of the baby boom. There was (still is?) some resentment about the other neighbours who lied on their applications.
---------- Post added at 09:42 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:29 AM ----------
Mum and he first lived in a house that an Aunt rented in Newsham Park. There were seven families in it! (But they never stopped talking about how good it was - I think they were in the kitchen first and moved upstairs later). Eventually moved to Huyton Village where Grandad rented over a bank and from there to a council flat in Huyton.
Point is, both council and 'tenants' had responsibilities and it wasn't easy.
---------- Post added at 09:54 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:42 AM ----------
Yes the quip was a bit harsh.
I got around to measuring it and the terraced houses as flats are actually denser than the tower blocks!
However I think there's probably more flats in the tower blocks than you think. So measuring like-for-like (flats v flats) and allowing a few more flats in the tower blocks than you said, I think it would actually be about the same (as the pretty picture suggests) in this case about 60 dwellings per hectare.
However, some of the 'houses' have three bins in front of them...
If someone had an aerial picture of one of the estates from the 60s, I think that would really show how much space around the blocks there was.
---------- Post added at 10:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:54 AM ----------
Supply and demand has rather more sway on the price of cement than its location. And moveable cement moves to meet the demand for it. Thus increasing, not equalising its price. Moveable cement as an illustration that land shortage increases land price because it is immovable is thus... bollocks.
There has been no land shortage that has driven us to building houses further and further out of town in this city. It is a complete myth. Take a look at the North End and tell me it’s choc-a-bloc. I dare you.
The population of the city has halved since 1938. The displacement into Knowsley and parts of SW Lancs has been absorbed at very low density. There’s space to burn, both in and around Liverpool. And in the centre - did the land evaporate in the meantime? What are you on?!!
The brownfield sites in the North End:
northbrownfield by Peter McGurk, on Flickr
The history of tower blocks in the city neatly illustrates how the poor are callously warehoused, their communities broken up, and how planners and architects are complicit in this.
When the slum clearances began next to no one who was about to be rehoused was involved in the planning of the new estates. Very few who were about to be rehoused would have chosen to live in a high rise block. Remember all those documentaries in the 60s that highlighted the despair and loneliness of the new inhabitants of tower blocks?
And then there were the problems associated with dampness, noise, poor insulation, lifts that didn't work and the anomie that springs from an environment that is poorly maintained.
To be fair, not everyone was against tower-block accommodation: for some reason, a lot of council employees ended up in the pick of the new tower blocks - the ones around Sefton Park and there have been accusations that there was also a 'no blacks' policy in operation for allocation to these flats. Believe it or not, not many council employees ended up in the tower block that came and went on Warwick Street in the space of just over 20 years. I can't think why!
So we had buildings constructed that weren't designed to meet the self-identified housing requirements of the population being rehoused - except the ones in leafy south Liverpool for which there was a waiting list! Hardly a recipe for success. In the poorer parts of the city most of the blocks came and went within a few decades and were never loved by the majority of people who lived in them.
If only the planners and the architects had listened to what people wanted or looked abroad for inspiration from cities that never suffered from inner city blight we wouldn't have the doughnut effect we have now in which the inner city is fighting to survive and some parts of which have given up the ghost.
The Menlove blocks are a classic example of this type of housing working if policed properly and not built to a faulty design like the piggeries.
So if you build a tower block in the middle of Calderstones park you point to all the greenery that was there anyway and say look at all the open space we're giving you (not look at the lump of concrete we've stuck into the middle of it for you?)
I'm not privvy to what materials were used but suffice to say, on some of the blocks, it seemed that large chunks of the cladding came away.
Alton_530x324 by Peter McGurk, on Flickr
How old is that cladding mate? and who put it there?
---------- Post added at 01:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:07 PM ----------
The despair and loneliness of the new inhabitants of tower blocks can be put down to being ripped away from your community and finding yourself amongst strangers miles from ‘home’ and everything known - there’s no doubt about that. It can also be put down to not being able to get out (because of faulty lifts for example) and not having anywhere to go when you do get out (no pubs, no shops).
But remember, the drive of the time was to get people out of insanely insanitary and cramped conditions (largely without the funds needed to do it). Of course there’s better housing but who would (or could) pay?
The new government after the war quite rightly wanted action and action now. The country was however broke. Rationing hadn’t finished. The time of ‘post-war austerity’.
It would have been spectacularly unfair (and ultimately frustrating ie., it wouldn’t have happened) to ask people themselves to solve the conundrum of re-housing tens and hundreds of thousands of people without the funds to do it. If it had happened, the end of that conversation might have been ‘but we want this!’ to which the reply might have been ‘we haven’t got the money’.
The first Labour council in Liverpool acted vigorously on the Housing Subsidies Act of 1956. This actively encouraged high rise. The higher you built, the more subsidy was received. Not only was it cheaper to build higher but there was more from government to do it!
The National Building Agency was formed in the 1960s to further rationalise construction and construction costs. This provided even greater impetus to build high, build cheap and build with factory-produced parts. This of course ended up rather badly (Ronan Point) - not for want of good design but for want of appropriate on-site practice to match the accuracy of the factory-made product ie., they were built 'badly'.
Nonetheless... in 1954, 88000 dwellings in Liverpool were condemned as ‘unfit’ and ‘unhealthy’ by parliament. Building on empty and blitzed land yielded only 13000 homes even by 1961. Whereas the new estates eventually re-housed up to 200,000 people - just at the start.
There was also a drive from the Labour Party to ‘open up the countryside’ for the benefit of the inner city communities - of course in the face of opposition from the Tory landed gentry. Nevertheless, Liverpool were given powers under the Liverpool Corporation Act 1936 as exercised under The Merseyside Plan of 1944 to do just that.
The corporation might have two choices - stay where we are and slowly improve what we had, someday maybe, or wholesale re-location, now. Faced with the economics (and the politics) of the time, the move to the country was almost unstoppable.
Many European cities (that didn't become doughnut cities) had less problems. They did not have the slums that we had, the wealth gap that we had (or still have) nor did they all have the blitz or the urgent need for houses. Nevertheless even the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" (hey, I didn't say it) built huge out of town high-rise suburbs.
That series of decisions made, examples were taken from home and from overseas. In the UK - the ‘Garden City Movement’ (of Welwyn Garden City fame) had a huge influence on the layout of the new estates. And in Europe, tower blocks in France were and are successful. But the big influence on tower blocks came via the States.
And the estates here were planned rather better than there perhaps (?), with all of the facilities and open space needed to support them. Not callously but responsibly and taking into account what was and what was not achievable.
What was achieved was astonishing but the pace of expansion was just as staggering. The places to go and places to meet got left behind in the blizzard of house building and budget allocation. Some eventually caught up. Some never did. Some were buried in maintenance debt.
If you look at some of them now, there are vast areas of ‘green’ (not a tree in sight) surrounded by boarded up and burnt out houses.
[It’s nteresting to note that in a recent public consultation in North Huyton, people did NOT want trees - I think to protect their cars. Of course car ownership was three parts of zip in the 1950s]
But if you look at others... I took a walk down Storrington Avenue the other day. I haven’t been there for literally 30 years. There’s (open) shops. People living over them still. Done up houses. A (digital) library. A ‘Communiversity’. Tended gardens. People saying hello. I thought I was dreaming.
People’s sense of belonging is important. It is a kind of 'ownership' - whether tenant or freeholder. It's nearly as important as a sense of responsibility. We have to do our share. When our Mums and Dads moved into these places there was a greater sense of social responsibility. There was.
As time has gone by and with successive Housing Acts, councils have been forced to move from a selective allocation to a ‘needs-based’ allocation ie., those least capable of looking after their greater need, get priority. Agree or disagree, that’s how it is.
The result has been to turn large sections of social housing into poor ghettoes where those who are least capable of even transferring decent standards of behaviour to their children are in the minority but still dominate. The result? High maintenance costs. Not as a factor of ‘bad design’ but more as a factor of lack of responsibility.
Personally I would no sooner drop a bed out of a window than leave a single piece of paper blown into the front garden. I definitely wouldn’t be on the phone to council to pick it up.
And don’t forget. Buildings must be maintained. It’s a given. You can’t expect it to stand there forever. The ‘lifetime warranty’ of a house (without significant repair) is normally about thirty years. Ten or twelve under an NHBC guarantee - not eternity. There’s a budget for that, buildings are designed for that (why pay more?) and if that budget is blown via vandalism, what then? Is that a design fault?
[Actually some designs are now incorporating ‘vandal proofing’ - not surprisingly, some do look like brick ‘outhouses’ and are phenomenally expensive as a result - check out your local police station for example]
There are (low-rise) estates, identical in design in every respect. Some are beautifully looked after. Tended, Cared for. Some... look like Beirut, literally - houses in some cases, literally, blown, up. Design fault?
Some of those estates may have taken forty years to find their pride and sense of community again but it does exist. Ask most people whether they're proud to live in Kirkby. It has happened.
In the meantime, maybe those who were 'left behind' in 19th century terraced housing blighted by lack of funds and anti-social behaviour are worse off than those who went to the 'country'. It would be interesting to know (I did ask) what people thought of the new housing in Kensington and Everton. Good. Bad. Which is it? Are 'we' learning or not?
There are remains of the high rise (parts of) estates, mostly, in fact mainly, in good use. Some things haven’t worked and a lot of them have gone. Perhaps not from ‘faulty design’ (for the reasons explained). The fundamental concept seems to work. How else is it that people are buying what others have previously p*ssed on...?
Perhaps those designs are ‘fine now’ because the social economic and political constraints that built them have gone. The concept of high rise and high rise cost efficiencies remain but the 'difficult' industrialised claddings have been replaced, the flats are smaller, the 'right' people (smaller or no families) are in them and the money (was) there to look after them.
Even that, it turns out, may be just an illusion - other people’s money.
That leaves us with a(nother) potentially inconvenient truth. Since the history of social housing in this country has always been about subsidy. It would be natural to assume that in general, we cannot afford the housing we feel we deserve?
European models rely less on enrichment via freehold and more on renting to the general betterment and greater disposable income of all. Here, we have so-called 'men of the people' actively encouraging the cynical aping of the landed gentry they espouse to hate through the exploitation of the less well-off via home ownership and belting increases in house prices (hiya Waterways!).
This country sneers at renting or even posh-renting (leasehold). It's beneath us it seems. And, in this country. Even here. We'd rather focus on resentment and blame than sorting out the calamitous social conditions that got us here.
[Chas, I reckon 131 is in there somewhere too]
Now - out of that data you tell me which is the land that’s empty. Even accepting your figures of the value of agricultural use as 2.5% of the UK economy, I wonder how much food it generates to sustain the population. 100%? I doubt it, if any supermarket shelf is anything to go by. We don’t even have enough land to feed ourselves.
So full of it.
Again... this is what I call empty
The brownfield sites in the North End:
northbrownfield by Peter McGurk, on Flickr
Add to that... the population of the Liverpool side of the 'Atlantic Gateway Strategic Investment Area' - all of the land between the railway and the river between the city centre and boundary with Sefton plus most of the Leeds Street area is... precisely zero. That's what I call empty:
000_100outlinesmll by Peter McGurk, on Flickr
Philadelphia & Lawyers comes to mind.
NUTscape PEEL navigator-
a certifiable loony!
Most of the UK is empty. I gave the figures. I never made them up.Now - out of that data you tell me which is the land that’s empty.
It is a subsidized industry that if market forces were applied would mostly fold. The cities of Liverpool and Sheffield, were virtually killed by allowing imports of cheaper steel from abroad an the rundown of manufacturing. This created great misery and distress to their large populations. Yet agriculture is subsidised to the hilt having land allocated to it which clearly can be better utilised for the greater good of British society.Even accepting your figures of the value of agricultural use as 2.5% of the UK economy, I wonder how much food it generates to sustain the population.
The justification for subsidising agriculture is that we need to eat. We also need steel and cars in our modern society, yet the auto and steel industries were allowed to fall away to cheaper competition from abroad, and especially the Far East. Should taxpayers money be propping up an economically small industry that consumes vast tracts of land that certainly could be better used? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
The UK has imported food since the the mid 1800s. Most of our wheat come from North America. Cheap fast transportation (the steam ship and trains) had meant food, animal and human, could be transported between continents. This prevented European famines. The USA and Canada were pouring out cereals super cheap which affected European agriculture setting it back. German, French and UK agriculture was mainly outdated to North America's. Global food production was in the hands of the USA and UK using the UKs sea lanes and massive merchant fleet to transport food - animal and human consumption. Liverpool was a massive grain importing and processing port. The second largest gain process place on earth.
Food transportation between continents did not apply only to cereals. For e.g., Liverpool companies owned vast tracts of Argentina processing beef and transporting it to the UK and other European ports in refrigerated ships. The Vesty empire owned massive ranches, processing plants and the shipping fleets to transport the meat products - total vertical integration to the point they owned the shops it was sold in. Only oil companies ever achieved such total control of their products.
The UK had a backward agricultural system in parts, however controlled food importation across continents.
Again... this is what I call empty
The brownfield sites in the North End:
They are empty and should be rebuilt properly. But to imply that the UK's housing crisis can be solved by building on brownfield sites is ludicrous. Simple stats prove that. Onky 14% can be accommodated on brownfield and if brownfield is turned to parks, etc, far less.
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