China Walk is a large London County Council
Het Blauwe Zand is a garden village to the North of Amsterdam with a colourful history.
Blue: A triangular area between the old villages and Buiksloot Nieuwendam was used as farmland and by shipyards, sawmills and firework factories whose effluent coloured the ground blue. On the cleared land, The Blue Sand housing was built to accommodate a growing group of workers from the new industries and shipbuilding on the north banks of the IJ.
Red: In the elections of 1934, 79% of the neighbourhood voted for the Communist Party of Holland and the Social Democratic Workers' Party. Together, these groups went to war against the fascists of the NSB, who fiercely hated. The militancy of the residents led to several incidents, and in 1937 they attached NSB party leader Anton Mussert, which earned them a notorious reputation. Residents suffered from this reputation in job interviews and asked the Housing Authority to rename the town to Tuindorp Buiksloot.
Orange: The neighbourhood is famous for wrapping exuberant streets in orange during national football matches in the European and World Championships. Residents gather together to watch football. This is a far cry from its origins where the neighbourhood was divided between normal and ‘undesirable tenants’, only admitted to the new estates after spending
The preface to this book rightly lays stress on the unprecedented efforts made throughout Europe since the War to improve the housing conditions of the people, and the book itself indicates succinctly and pictorially the kind of provision which is being made at home and on the Continent. Its publication comes at a time when we, in this country, have completed the three-millionth house since the War, when we are in the middle of our great attack upon the slums, and when we are initiating a new campaign to abate overcrowding.
The capacity for dealing with large volumes of building in this country has been so successfully demonstrated that we can now confidently hope that, within a measurable period, every family in this country will be provided with that fundamental necessity—reasonable living accommodation, and that we can look forward to continual improvement or1 the present standards.
Other countries have attempted the solution of similar housing problems and this particular book has had to wait for publication on the efforts of all concerned to evolve their own solutions and eventually to prove that these are satisfactory from the technical point of view under the most varying conditions.
The technical experts of all countries have no doubt kept in touch with the efforts of their colleagues as well as their opportunities for exchange of ideas allowed, but we may take some little pride in the fact that this collection of examples of the best European methods has, with the enthusiastic assistance of their colleagues in other countries, been put on record by English technicians—an example of international common purpose which I hope we may see extended.
I do not propose to comment upon any of the examples set out with such careful attention to relevant data. I am, however, going to devote, as I hope everyone concerned will also do, time and attention to the lessons which the experience of other countries has to teach and to the practical application of these lessons to our own conditions.
Particularly do I commend the study of the examples to all those who seek the beauty that can be expressed in simple form—a characteristic of the very best in our English architecture and available to rich and poor alike, which money of itself cannot ensure but which can yet be achieved with comparatively small expenditure. I note many examples in this work of the utmost simplicity which are perfectly satisfying, and other examples which charm with a kind of extravagance well kept within the bounds of taste.
Finally I understand that it is the intention to keep this work on comparative European housing up to date. I can only express my gratitude to those who have so ably commenced and supported it and am glad to think that we may look forward to successive editions of this very valuable book.