Monday, April 27, 2015

No Place Like Home

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As comparison to the new apartment blocks along the river (above), representing today’s urban densification, I thought I’d also take you on a little tour around the housing estate/area where I live, which was built in the 1940’s.

Back then, just as today, there was a great need of new housing, but the planning had a slightly different focus: let the people have air, light, and wide open space in between the apartment buildings.

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In the panorama view above (taken from the nearby football field), you see the edge of “my part of town” to the left; while on the horizon to the right, you can also spot the modern highrise tower down by the river.

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Before the 1940’s, this all used to be farmland. For this town, which is otherwise rather hilly, it is an unusually flat area; and the ‘low’ buildings with quite a bit of space in between contribute to preserving the impression that there is still a lot of sky over our heads.

For a modern day family (with all the “stuff” we tend to add to our lives and homes) the apartments were/are a bit on the small side - but 70 years ago, they were next to luxurious for many who were used to much lower standards. (I have read about “back then” in a book about the local history...)

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The street (nicknamed “Yellow Brick Road” by me, but of course in real life it has another name) goes round in a circle (or oval), with lookalike buildings on each side…

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… and in the middle a large park area and playground.

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For a council housing estate, plenty of open space.

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At the south end,  yellow brick meets red. The yellow blocks were built in the early 1940’s, the red ones in the later years of that decade.

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Across another street we find more Red Brick blocks. Here, in the post-war section of the area, the buildings are still similar in style and height to the yellow ones, but built closer together. Like with a tad less optimism; or one step closer to the densification idea…

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There are playgrounds and lawns here too, but not quite the same generous feeling of open space as in the Yellow Brick area.

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One villa from “the olden days” (when this was still the countryside) breaks off the monotony. It has been serving as day care centre. I’m not sure about its future, though… It seems pretty worn-down.

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Cross another street in a different direction, and you’ll find other styles of architechture. That variety is one of the things I like about this part of town. Even when I don’t feel up to walking very far, there are choices.

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I intend to link this post to

Our World Tuesday Graphic

18 comments:

  1. It looks really nice. Love the space between the buildings and the way everything has been organized.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. Yes, they are actually taking rather good care of this estate, I think.

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  2. I don't think anything as good exists in the UK. Thatcher sold off the desirable housing stock.

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    1. It happens here too, Adrian. I think I've read somewhere that this estate is on some kind of preservation list though because it's kind of unique. But who knows about the future...

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  3. i much prefer the old version of the 40's over the new. and you have so many beautiful trees and views and parks to walk in.... a very nice place to live and people need to live with wants not needs.

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    1. Yes, some grass and trees and flowers in between buildings instead of just stone and asphalt does make a difference!

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  4. Yes, the older buildings with lawns and trees in between are more gracious. But when they were built there were not so many people. It is shocking that here in the US there were 150 million people in 1950 and now there are 320 million. No wonder we have too little water in many places.

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    1. I recall learning in school that Sweden had around 8 million inhabitants (around 1970 or so). Now it's over 9.7 million.

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  5. I love seeing your buildings and area! It is so nice, with plenty of green. I especially like that you have a park right there! And yes, it IS a yellow brick road! Your postcard must have gotten lost. It makes me mad because I took it inside the post office. I am sending you another one tonight!

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    1. Yes, I like it that there is quite a lot of grass and trees outside (even though I'm allergic to both grass and tree pollen!) And some benches etc where you can sit down for a while too.

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  6. It all looks so clean and well cared for ~ Great shots!

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  7. I like the generous feeling of air and space, and the blocks of flats not being too high. Also, it looks like each and every flat comes with a balcony - something I must admit I miss every now and then.
    The whole area looks well cared for, not like some council housing I have seen here, where people seem not to care at all about their surroundings, with litter everywhere.

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    1. Meike, at least all flats with more than one room have a proper balcony. Some one-room flats may have only a balconette. But I think there aren't as many one-room flats now as there were originally (back in the 40s), some have been converted. For example I read that in my building there were originally 18 2-room flats and 9 1-room ones. Now there are only 18 flats altogether and I know at least some of them have 3 (like mine) or 4 rooms (like the one above me, which is a duplex apartment with two attic bedrooms.)

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  8. What a lovely feeling of space.

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  9. Back in the '30s and possibly the '40s Liverpool built some of the finest Council housing estates in Britain with gardens and parks and plenty of local facilities and some of the worst City centre flat developments with little or no greenery and space. When the '60s came they built some of what turned out to be the worst in high rise developments. Your flats, afford a great contrast contrast, with so much open space and which have obviously been well maintained and looked after. It's good to get a look at the area too.

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    1. I think the "worst" suburb estates here in Sweden were built between the mid 60's and mid 70's. It was called the Million Programme.The aim was to construct a million new dwellings in a ten-year period ( in a nation with, back then, a population of eight million).

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  10. I much prefer your apartment. Reminds me of ones we lived in Germany in the '60's and 70's.

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