A tenement is a type of building shared by multiple dwellings, typically with flats or apartments on each floor and with shared entrance stairway access. These are common in Scotland. In the medieval Old Town, Edinburgh, tenements were developed with each apartment treated as a separate house, built on top of each other (such as Gladstone's Land). Over hundreds of years, custom grew to become law concerning maintenance and repairs, as first formally discussed in Stair's 1681 writings on Scots property law.In Scotland, these are now governed by the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004, which replaced the old law of the tenement and created a new system of common ownership and procedures concerning repairs and maintenance of tenements. Tenements with one or two room flats provided popular rented accommodation for workers, but in some inner-city areas, overcrowding and maintenance problems led to slums, which have been cleared and redeveloped. In more affluent areas, tenement flats form spacious privately owned houses, some with up to six bedrooms, which continue to be desirable properties.
In the United States, the term tenement initially meant a large building with multiple small spaces to rent. As cities grew in the nineteenth century, there was increasing separation between rich and poor. With rapid urban growth and immigration, overcrowded houses with poor sanitation gave tenements a reputation as slums.The expression "tenement house" was used to designate a building subdivided to provide cheap rental accommodation, which was initially a subdivision of a large house. Beginning in the 1850s, purpose-built tenements of up to six storeys held several households on each floor. Various names were introduced for better dwellings, and eventually modern apartments predominated in American urban living.
In parts of England, especially Devon and Cornwall, the word refers to an outshot, or additional projecting part at the back of a terraced house, normally with its own roof.
The term tenement originally referred to tenancy and therefore to any rented accommodation. The New York State legislature defined it in the Tenement House Act of 1867 in terms of rental occupancy by multiple households, as
Any house, building, or portion thereof, which is rented, leased, let, or hired out to be occupied or is occupied, as the home or residence of more than three families living independently of one another and doing their own cooking upon the premises, or by more than two families upon a floor, so living and cooking and having a common right in the halls, stairways, yards, water-closets, or privies, or some of them.
In Scotland, it continues to be the most common word for a multiple-occupancy building, but elsewhere it is used as a pejorative in contrast to apartment building or block of flats.Tenement houses were either adapted or built for the working class as cities industrialized, and came to be contrasted with middle-class apartment houses, which started to become fashionable later in the 19th century. Late-19th-century social reformers in the US were hostile to both tenements (for fostering disease, and immorality in the young) and apartment houses (for fostering "sexual immorality, sloth, and divorce").
As the United States industrialized during the 19th century, immigrants and workers from the countryside were housed in former middle-class houses and other buildings, such as warehouses, which were bought up and divided into small dwellings.Beginning as early as the 1830s in New York City's Lower East Side or possibly the 1820s on Mott Street, three- and four-story buildings were converted into "railroad flats," so called because the rooms were linked together like the cars of a train, with windowless internal rooms. The adapted buildings were also known as "rookeries," and these were a particular concern, as they were prone to collapse and fire. Mulberry Bend and Five Points were the sites of notorious rookeries that the city worked for decades to clear. In both rookeries and purpose-built tenements, communal water taps and water closets (either privies or "school sinks," which opened into a vault that often became clogged) were squeezed into the small open spaces between buildings. In parts of the Lower East Side, buildings were older and had courtyards, generally occupied by machine shops, stables, and other businesses.
Such tenements were particularly prevalent in New York, where in 1865 a report stated that 500,000 people lived in unhealthy tenements, whereas in Boston in 1845, less than a quarter of workers were housed in tenements.One reason New York had so many tenements was the large numbers of immigrants; another was that the grid plan on which streets were laid out, and the economic practice of building on individual 25- by 100-foot lots, combined to produce high land coverage. Prior to 1867, tenements often covered more than 90 percent of the lot, were five or six stories high, and had 18 rooms per floor, of which only two received direct sunlight. Yards were a few feet wide and often filled with privies. Interior rooms were unventilated.
Early in the 19th century, many of the poor were housed in cellars, which became even less sanitary after the Croton Aqueduct brought running water to wealthier New Yorkers: the reduction in well use caused the water table to rise, and the cellar dwellings flooded. Early housing reformers urged the construction of tenements to replace cellars, and beginning in 1859 the number of people living in cellars began to decline.
The Tenement House Act of 1866, the state legislature's first comprehensive legislation on housing conditions, prohibited cellar apartments unless the ceiling was 1 foot above street level; required one water closet per 20 residents and the provision of fire escapes; and paid some attention to space between buildings. This was amended by the Tenement House Act of 1879, known as the Old Law, which required lot coverage of no more than 65 percent. As of 1869, New York State law defined a “tenement house” as “any house or building, or portion thereof, which is rented, leased let or hired out, to be occupied, or is occupied as the home or residence of three families or more living independently of each other, and doing their cooking upon the premises, or by more than two families upon any floor, so living and cooking, but having a right in the halls, stairways, yards, water-closets or privies, or some of them.” L 1867, ch 908. The New York City Board of Health was empowered to enforce these regulations, but it declined to do so. As a compromise, the "Old Law tenement" became the standard: this had a "dumbbell" shape, with air and light shafts on either side in the center (usually fitted to the shafts in the adjacent buildings), and it typically covered 80 percent of the lot. James E. Ware is credited with the design; he had won a contest the previous year held by Plumber and Sanitary Engineer Magazine to find the most practical improved tenement design, in which profitability was the most important factor to the jury.
Public concern about New York tenements was stirred by publication in 1890 of Jacob Riis's How the Other Half Lives, and in 1892 by Riis's The Children of the Poor. The New York State Assembly Tenement House Committee report of 1894 surveyed 8,000 buildings with approximately 255,000 residents and found New York to be the most densely populated city in the world, at an average of 143 people per acre, with part of the Lower East Side having 800 residents per acre, denser than Bombay. It used both charts and photographs, the first such official use of photographs. Together with the publication in 1895 by the US Department of Labor of a special report on housing conditions and solutions elsewhere in the world, The Housing of Working People, it ultimately led to the passage of the Tenement House Act of 1901, known as the New Law, which implemented the Tenement House Committee's recommendation of a maximum of 70 percent lot coverage and mandated strict enforcement, specified a minimum of 12 feet for a rear yard and 6 feet for an air and light shaft at the lot line or 12 feet in the middle of the building (all of these being increased for taller buildings), and required running water and water closets in every apartment and a window in every room. There were also fire-safety requirements. These rules are still the basis of New York City law on low-rise buildings, and they have made single-lot development uneconomical.
Most of the purpose-built tenements in New York were not slums, although they were not pleasant to be inside, especially in hot weather, so people congregated outside, made heavy use of the fire escapes, and slept in summer on fire escapes, roofs, and sidewalks.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, a five-story brick former tenement building in Manhattan that is a National Historic Site, is a museum devoted to tenements in the Lower East Side.
Other famous tenements in the US include tenement housing in Chicago, in which various housing areas were built to the same affect as tenements in New York.
Tenements make up a large percentage of the housing stock of Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. Glasgow tenements were built to provide high-density housing for the large number of people immigrating to the city in the 19th and early 20th century as a result of the Industrial Revolution, when the city's population boomed to more than 1 million people. Edinburgh's tenements are much older, dating from the 17th century onwards, and some were up to 15 storeys high when first built, which made them among the tallest houses in the world at that time. Glasgow tenements were generally built no taller than the width of the street on which they were located; therefore, most are about 3–5 storeys high. Virtually all Glasgow tenements were constructed using red or blonde sandstone, which has become distinctive.
In Edinburgh, residential dwellings in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town (as well as the Victorian city centre districts immediately surrounding them) are almost exclusively tenements. The Tenement House historic house museum in the Garnethill area of Glasgow preserves the interior, fittings and equipment of a well-kept, upper middle-class tenement from the late 19th century. Alas, there are no surviving representatives of the more typical tenements found in industrial Glasgow and its environs up until the 1970s.
A large number of the tenements in Glasgow were demolished in the 1960s and 1970s because of slum conditions, overcrowding and poor maintenance of the buildings. Perhaps the most striking case of this is seen in the Gorbals district, where virtually all the tenements were demolished to make way for tower blocks, which in turn have been demolished and replaced with newer structures. The Gorbals is a relatively small area and at one time had an estimated 90,000 people living in its tenements, leading to very poor living conditions; now the population is roughly 10,000.
Tenement demolition was to a significantly lesser extent in Edinburgh, thus making its later World Heritage designations in 1985 possible. Largely, such clearances were limited to pre-Victorian buildings outwith the New Town area and were precipitated by the so-called "Penny Tenement" incident.
Apartments in tenement buildings in both cities are now highly sought after, due to their locations and often large rooms, high ceilings, ornamentation and period features.
In German, the term corresponding to tenement is Mietskaserne, "rental barracks", and the city especially known for them is Berlin. In 1930, Werner Hegemann's polemic Das steinerne Berlin (Stony Berlin) referred to the city in its subtitle as "the largest tenement city in the world."They were built during a period of great increases in population between 1860 and 1914, particularly after German unification in 1871, in a broad ring enclosing the old city center, sometimes called the Wilhelmian or Wilhelmine Ring. The buildings are almost always five stories high because of the mandated maximum height. The blocks are large because the streets were required to be able to handle heavy traffic, and the lots are therefore also large: required to have courtyards large enough for a fire truck to turn around, the buildings have front, rear, and cross buildings enclosing several courtyards. Buildings within the courtyards were the location of much of Berlin's industry until the 1920s, and noise and other nuisances affected the apartments, only the best of which had windows facing the street.
One notorious Berlin Mietskaserne was Meyers Hofin Gesundbrunnen, which at times housed 2,000 people and required its own police officer to keep order.
Between 1901 and 1920, a Berlin clinic investigated and documented in photographs the living conditions of its patients, revealing that many lived in damp basements and garrets, spaces under stairs, and apartments where the windows were blocked by courtyard businesses.
Many apartments in the Wilhelmian Ring were very small, only one room and a kitchen.Also, apartments were laid out with their rooms reached via a common internal corridor, which even the Berlin Architects' Association recognized was unhealthy and detrimental to family life. Sanitation was inadequate: in a survey of one area in 1962, only 15 percent of apartments had both a toilet and a bath or shower; 19 percent had only a toilet, and 66 percent shared staircase toilets. Heating was provided by stoves burning charcoal briquettes.
In the 19th and early 20th century, Dublin's tenements (Irish : tionóntán) were infamous, often described as the worst in Europe. Many tenement buildings were originally the Georgian townhouses of upper-class families, neglected and subdivided over the centuries to house dozens of Dublin's poor. Henrietta Street's fifteen buildings housed 835 people. In 1911 nearly 26,000 families lived in inner-city tenements, and 20,000 of these families lived in a single room. Disease was common, with death rates of 22.3 per thousand (compared with 15.6 for London at the same time).
The collapse of 65–66 Church Street in 1913, which killed seven residents, led to inquiries into housing.A housing committee report of 1914 said,
There are many tenement houses with seven or eight rooms that house a family in each room and contain a population of between 40 and 50 souls. We have visited one house that we found to be occupied by 98 persons, another by 74 and a third by 73.
The entrance to all tenement houses is by a common door off either a street, lane or alley, and, in most cases, the door is never shut, day or night. The passages and stairs are common and the rooms all open directly either off the passages or landings.
Most of these houses have yards at the back, some of which are a fair size, while others are very small, and some few houses have no yards at all. Generally, the only water supply of the house is furnished by a single water tap, which is in the yard. The yard is common and the closet accommodation [toilet] is to be found there, except in some few cases in which there is no yard, when it is to be found in the basement where there is little light or ventilation.
The closet accommodation is common not only to the occupants of the house, but to anyone who likes to come in off the street, and is, of course, common to both sexes. The roofs of the tenement houses are, as a rule, bad . . .
Having visited a large number of these houses in all parts of the city, we have no hesitation in saying that it is no uncommon thing to find halls and landings, yards and closets of the houses in a filthy condition, and, in nearly every case, human excreta is to be found scattered about the yards and in the floors of the closets and, in some cases, even in the passages of the house itself.
Tenement life often appeared in fiction, such as the "Dublin trilogy" of plays by Seán O'Casey, Oliver St. John Gogarty's play Blight , and James Plunkett's novel Strumpet City (adapted for television in 1980). 14 Henrietta Street serves as a museum of Dublin tenement life.
The last tenements were closed in the 1970s, families being rehoused in new suburbs such as Ballymun.
In Buenos Aires the tenements, called conventillos, developed from subdividing one- or two-story houses built around courtyards for well-off families. These were long and narrow, three to six times as long as they were wide, and the size of the patios was reduced until as many as 350 people could be living on a lot that had originally housed 25. Purpose-built tenements copied their form. By 1907 there were some 2,500 conventillos, with 150,000 occupants.El conventillo de la Paloma was particularly famous and is the title of a play by Alberto Vaccarezza.
"Chawls" are found in India. They are typically four to five story buildings with 10 to 20 kholis (tenements) on each floor, kholis literally meaning 'rooms'. Many chawl buildings can be found in Mumbai, where chawls were constructed by the thousands to house people migrating to the large city because of its booming cotton mills and overall strong economy.
A typical chawl tenement consists of one all-purpose room, which functions both as a living and sleeping space, and a kitchen which also serves as a dining room. A frequent practice is for the kitchen to also serve as a bedroom for a newly married couple in order to give them some degree of privacy.
Kamienica (plural kamienice) is a Polish term describing a type of residential tenement building made of brick or stone, with at least two floors. There are two basic types: one designed as a single-family residence, which existed until ca. 1800 (a burgher house), and the other designed as multi-family housing, which emerged in the 19th century and was the basic type of housing in cities. From the architectural point of view, the word is usually used to describe a building that abuts other similar buildings forming the street frontage, in the manner of a terraced house. The ground floor often consists of shops and other businesses, while the upper floors are apartments. Kamienice have windows in the front, but not in the side walls, since the buildings are close together. The first type of kamienica is most prevalent especially in centres of historical cities such as Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław, and Toruń, whereas the second type is most prominent in Łódź. The name derives from the Polish word kamień (stone) and dates from the 15th century.
Notable examples include:
The Wendell O. Pruitt Homes and William Igoe Apartments, known together as Pruitt–Igoe, were joint urban housing projects first occupied in 1954 in the US city of St. Louis, Missouri. Living conditions in Pruitt–Igoe began to decline soon after completion in 1956. By the late 1960s, the complex had become internationally infamous for its poverty, crime and racial segregation. The 11-story high rises within the complex almost exclusively accommodated African-Americans. All 33 buildings were demolished with explosives in the mid-1970s, and the project has become an icon of failure of urban renewal, public-policy planning and public housing.
An apartment, or flat, is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building, generally on a single storey. There are many names for these overall buildings, see below. The housing tenure of apartments also varies considerably, from large-scale public housing, to owner occupancy within what is legally a condominium, to tenants renting from a private landlord.
How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York (1890) is an early publication of photojournalism by Jacob Riis, documenting squalid living conditions in New York City slums in the 1880s. The photographs served as a basis for future "muckraking" journalism by exposing the slums to New York City's upper and middle classes. They inspired many reforms of working-class housing, both immediately after publication as well as making a lasting impact in today's society.
Cowlairs is an area in the Scottish city of Glasgow, part of the wider Springburn district of the city. It is situated north of the River Clyde, between central Springburn to the east and Possilpark to the west.
Hutchesontown is an inner-city area in Glasgow, Scotland. Mostly residential, it is situated directly south of the River Clyde and forms part of the wider historic Gorbals district, which is covered by the Southside Central ward under Glasgow City Council.
Laurieston is a district in the Gorbals area of the Scottish city of Glasgow. It is situated south of the River Clyde. It derives its name from James Laurie who, along with his brother, developed a large part of the district in the early 19th century.
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, located at 97 and 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, is a National Historic Site. The Museum's two historical tenement buildings were home to an estimated 15,000 people, from over 20 nations, between 1863 and 2011. The museum, which includes a visitors' center, promotes tolerance and historical perspective on the immigrant experience.
Cherry Street is a one-way street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It currently has two sections, mostly running along parks, public housing, co-op buildings, tenements, and crossing underneath the Manhattan Bridge overpass.
Mills House No. 1 or the Mills Hotel at 160 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City was built as a hotel for poor men. It was funded by banker Darius Ogden Mills and designed by Ernest Flagg and opened in 1897. The building is now The Atrium.
Multi-family residential is a classification of housing where multiple separate housing units for residential inhabitants are contained within one building or several buildings within one complex. Units can be next to each other, or stacked on top of each other. A common form is an apartment building. Many intentional communities incorporate multifamily residences, such as in cohousing projects.
First Houses is a public housing project in Manhattan in New York City and was one of the first public housing projects in the United States. First Houses were designated a New York City and National Historic Landmark in 1974. They are managed by the New York City Housing Authority.
Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland , has several distinct styles of residential buildings, and since its population began to grow rapidly the 18th century has been at the forefront of some large-scale projects to deal with its housing issues, some of which have been assessed as being largely successful and others less so.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining.
109 Washington Street is a five-story tenement in the Financial District of Manhattan in New York City, within the area once known as Little Syria. Due to demolitions connected to the construction of the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel and the World Trade Center, it stands as the last tenement on a portion of lower Washington Street that has been estimated by Kate Reggev to have contained around 50 tenements. After September 11, 2001, its proximity to the World Trade Center site made it the subject of some media attention, including a nationally syndicated radio story about the experiences of its residents on the day of the attack. In recent years, community officials, activists, and preservationists have advocated for its designation as a landmark as part of a mini-historical district with the connected buildings of St. George's Syrian Catholic Church and the Downtown Community House.
Architecture in modern Scotland encompasses all building in Scotland, between the beginning of the twentieth century and the present day. The most significant architect of the early twentieth century was Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who mixed elements of traditional Scottish architecture with contemporary movements. Estate house design declined in importance in the twentieth century. In the early decades of the century, traditional materials began to give way to cheaper modern ones. After the First World War, Modernism and the office block began to dominate building in the major cities and attempts began to improve the quality of urban housing for the poor, resulted in a massive programme of council house building. The Neo-Gothic style continued in to the twentieth century but the most common forms in this period were plain and massive Neo-Romanesque buildings.
Andrew Jackson Thomas (1875–1965) was a self-taught American architect who was known for designing low-cost apartment complexes that included green areas in the first half of the twentieth century.
The Queensboro Corporation was a real estate company founded by Edward A. MacDougall that played a major role in developing the Jackson Heights area of Queens, New York City.
Housing in Scotland includes all forms of built habitation in what is now Scotland, from the earliest period of human occupation to the present day. The oldest house in Scotland dates from the Mesolithic era. In the Neolithic era settled farming led to the construction of the first stone houses. There is also evidence from this period of large timber halls. In the Bronze Age there were cellular roundcrannogs and hillforts that enclosed large settlements. In the Iron Age cellular houses begin to be replaced on the northern isles by simple Atlantic roundhouses, substantial circular buildings with a drystone construction. The largest constructions that date from this era are the circular brochs and duns and wheelhouses.
Phipps Garden Apartments is an apartment complex in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, New York City. It was built in 1931 by Phipps Houses, a philanthropic organization of the Phipps family to build model tenements for working-class families, along with Henry Wright of Sunnyside Gardens. It is located on 39th Avenue between 50th and 52nd Streets in Woodside, Queens, adjacent to Sunnyside Gardens Park and the Sunnyside Yard. Designed by Clarence Stein, The brick buildings feature intricate brick work and curved steel fire escapes. The buildings enclose a landscaped courtyard by landscape architect Marjorie Sewell Cautley.
A byelaw terraced house is a type of dwelling built to comply with the Public Health Act 1875. It is a type of British terraced house at the opposite end of the social scale from the aristocratic townhouse, but a marked improvement on the pre-regulation house built as cheap accommodation for the urban poor of the Industrial Revolution. The term usually refers to houses built between 1875 and 1918.
a towering testament to tenement life in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It was once owned by merchant Thomas Gladstone, who extended and remodelled the building to create opulently decorated apartments. Gladstone attracted wealthy tenants including William Struther, Minister of St Giles’ Cathedral, and Lord Crichton, as well as the high-end grocer John Riddoch, who traded from the ground floor.
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