Monday, June 13, 2005

This article by Germaine Greer in today's Guardian really made me angry. Although much of her article goes on about the environmental impact of the tidal wave of suburban housing, there was the underlying suggestion that wanting your own house and space is a selfish and unnecessary desire.

I've come to peace with the fact that we'll have to live in a flat for a while yet now, but the truth is that I'm pretty tired of it. Unless you enjoy hearing constant reminders that you're surrounded by people above, below and next to you, that is - doors slamming, rows, toilets flushing, bad music. Sometimes I would feel like the walls were closing in on me. I had to work really hard on calming techniques to change my perceptions of the noise around us.

So many of the city centre flats look well made on the surface, but the truth is that very little thought has gone into their construction. They're crash pads, not homes. Dividing walls between flats are hollow; doors are thin, cheap wood and don't seal anything out. Our common hall area is so echoey that when our neighbour opens their front door lock at 3 am, it sounds like they're attacking it with an ice pick.

So no, Germaine - I don't think apartments could be as much homes as houses. Unless you want to give me £500,000 for a penthouse.


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