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Municipal Lingo: No 2. Housing units.

An occasional series.

This is one I particularly dislike: The use of "housing unit" instead of home. Nobody says: "Right must be off now, back to my housing unit." Talking about "housing units" actually seeps into the mental attitude of planners and reduces the quality of the housing that is built.

Socialists have never really appreciated the difference between "housing units" and homes (except, of course, when it comes to their own housing arrangements.) Even after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the advent of New Labour, this instinct for centrally planned, standardised, uniform housing has been retained. There is still this desire to achieve equality by levelling down to the lowest common denominator and for us all to live in rabbit hutches. The argument is not over whether or not new housing is needed but what it should be like.


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