Housing is an Infrastructure

Collective city focuses on the most common housing typology, the Victorian tenement. However, Glasgow has a variety of housing stock and much of this critique and subsequent proposals could be applied to its modernist estates, late 20th and 21st century developments.

The binding factor in these very disparate housing models is that on the whole they were designed for the supposedly normative nuclear family model. Furthermore, the amount of space available to each resident is determined not by ones need but ability to pay.

The result is a cellular existence, with only the normative nuclear family, provided they have enough resources, satisfied. Single people must live intimately with friends to fill up flats, meanwhile next door large family’s squeeze into tiny spaces. These homes are rigid, and thus as circumstances change and individuals are born, move away or die whole groups must up sticks and move, or live uncomfortably.

Communalisation could change this dynamic drastically. What if through negotiation with neighbours, residents could move around the partitions that divide their dwellings. Expand vertically and laterally, creating innumerable layouts for different living situations, renegotiable as these inevitably change. Common ownership of the land also intuits that it be used to best serve the community. Thus the vast swaths of urban land that is currently car parks, golf courses or simply abandoned would be built upon with high quality homes for the masses that need them.

Map describing surviving tenements in Glasgow, mostly Victorian. Overlaid is a masterplan for new tenement housing districts on sites which are currently blighted by motorway traffic, host surface parking or simply empty for no discernible reason. Drawn at 1:25000