Societies in the Making

Societies in the Making

Societies in the Making

Societies in the Making

Excerpt

DURING the years following the First World War housing has steadily emerged as one of the most important of the public social services.

The volume of building by local authorities acting as the agents of organized society has increased from a mere trickle of dwellings till it now exceeds that of private building.

Like education and the social security and health services, it has ceased to be thought of as exclusively designed for the benefit of the working classes.

It has been affected also by the twentieth century tendency, seen in the break-up of the poor law, to provide for specific needs departmentally. This tendency has involved the consequence that individuals and families are considered according to categories of needs, rather than as entities. The same man or family and the individual members of the family may at one and the same time come within the province of several different organs of government according to whether they are viewed as sick, old or unemployed persons or as persons in need of accommodation.

In the large county boroughs which contain the great aggregations of population, local government itself has become more remote from the ordinary citizen and from the locality. The achievement of adult suffrage does not in fact mean that individuals in particular localities have any statutory machinery which enables them to voice the desires and needs of those localities. In this the one-tier structure of local government in county boroughs is in strong contrast with that of the counties within which lesser authorities are locally elected and continue to be responsible for some of the vital local interests, such as housing.

Yet there are many areas within large cities which still reflect their nineteenth century origin in that their inhabitants find in the locality the focus of many of their interests, and feel that it is a distinct and corporate entity within the city.

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