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New Left Review I/13-14, January-April 1962


Hazel Doone

Single Person Accommodation

When people think of slum clearance, they usually visualise the rehousing of families, particularly families with young children. And when they talk about the homeless, they think of the families in the Rest Centres, of mothers with two, three or four children who can’t find a place just because they have children. The planning man thinks of people composed in orderly units of Father, Mother and 2.2 children or, if he is concerned with overcrowding, of families with four, five or six children. But they forget, or do not notice, the very large number of single people, who live alone in the older tenement blocks or in furnished lodgings. They form a large part of the population in the older areas of the City, and not only is their number much larger than the housing plans allowed for, it is also, as people live longer, increasing. And I think it is the need for single person accommodation which, because it has been completely underestimated, is now one of the most pitiful problems in London.

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