In the documentary Housing Problems, directors Elton and Anstey attempt to document the living conditions of workers in the slums of England. As they document the current conditions and the current/proposed changes, there is an interesting trend to note: the involvement of the private sector in solving the poor’s issues. Rather than leave the government to design, build and construct new buildings designed to improve the living conditions of the poor, businesses such as cement firms and gas companies were promoting contests in which new living quarters were developed. While this is an interesting development, the real question is why are these business promoting these contests? How does it benefit them? Why are they doing such activities?
As we see these trends in inter-war Europe, we as students truly fail to contextualize the futurism that is promoted in the documentaries and where reality truly went. While all of the developments mentioned in the new “slum” buildings would have created a fantastic world, how many of these buildings were constructed in reality? We see the blip in the attempt to deal with poverty, but fail to grasp what these evolutions mean in the overall history of Europe.