Defn: housing

May 10, 2009

I took some time today to try to sort through some of the stack of papers that has accumulated on my desk.  This is from photocopies of the World Book Encyclopedia, 1960 ed.

This opening to the entry on housing.

Safe, sanitary, comfortable dwellings are called standard housing. Everyone works, plays, or studies better in well-constructed housing. People enjoy better health in housing that has proper heating and ventilation. Good housing allows enough space for every member of the family to have some privacy and freedom.  It includes hot and cold running water, and well-planned sewage disposal.  Standard housing provides good electric lighting at night and lets in plenty of sunlight by day.

The ideal home should be in a neighborhood where school children do not have to cross dangerous streets. Parks, playgrounds, churches and recreation centers should be nearby.

Poorly constructed, run-down, unsanitary and overcrowded buildings are called substandard housing. A neighborhood with many substandard buildings becomes a slum.  Such areas often produce crime, disease, and juvenile delinquency. See BLIGHTED AREA.

Current Encyclopedia Brittanica online pointed me to historical entries on housing by country. The internet contributes to such different ways of presenting information. SEE the beginning of Wikipedia’s definition of “house” for contemporary popular encyclopedia equivalent:

A house is generally a shelter or building or structure that is a dwelling or place for habitation by human beings. The term includes many kinds of dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to high-rise apartment buildings.[1] In some contexts, “house” may mean the same as dwelling, residence, home, abode, lodging, accommodation, or housing, among other meanings.

The social unit that lives in a house is known as a household. Most commonly, a household is a family unit of some kind, though households can be other social groups, such as single persons, or groups of unrelated individuals. Settled agrarian and industrial societies are composed of household units living permanently in housing of various types, according to a variety of forms of land tenure. English-speaking people generally call any building they routinely occupy “home”. Many people leave their houses during the day for work and recreation, and return to them to sleep or for other activities.