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Estates: An Intimate History

Lynsey Hanley

  • Format: Book

  • Pages: 245

  • Publisher: Granta

  • Date Published: Dec 2006

  • Stock Code: 60553

  • ISBN: 9781862079090

  • Binding: Paperback

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Total votes: 2

Description

Britain's council estates have become a media shorthand for poverty, social mayhem, drugs, drink and violence - the social ills they were built to cure. How did homes built to improve people's lives end up doing the opposite? Is their reputation fair and if so who is to blame? Inhabitants? Politicians? Planners? Architects?

Lynsey Hanley was born and raised just outside of Birmingham on what was then the largest council estate in Europe and she has lived for years on an estate in London's East End. Writing with passion, humour and a sense of history, she recounts the rise of social housing a century ago, its adoption as a fundamental right by leaders of the social welfare state in mid-century and its decline - as both idea and reality - in the 1960s and 70s. Throughout, Hanley focuses on how shifting trends in urban planning and changing government policies - from 'Homes Fit for Heroes' to Le Corbusier's concrete tower blocks to the Right to Buy - affected those so often left out of the argument over council estates: the millions of people who live on them. What emerges is a vivid mix of memoir and social history, an engaging and illuminating book about a corner of society that the rest of Britain has left in the dark.

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