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    Creating a municipal gemeinschaft? Disputations of community

    Taylor, Margaret Hilda (2013) Creating a municipal gemeinschaft? Disputations of community. Masters by Research thesis (MPhil), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    In 1926 two parcels of land outside the town’s boundaries – the Arrowe Park and Woodchurch Estates – were purchased by the County Borough of Birkenhead. The intention was that the land would be utilised for housing, but it was over twenty years before a single brick was laid on the estate. Although the development of the housing estate in itself provides an interesting insight into urban planning it is the fact that there appears that there may have been a deliberate attempt to create community through the built environment, and it is with this that this thesis is concerned. The main body of the work (Part III) has been divided into two parts, the first part of which examines the responses of four planners who submitted their schemes to the Town Council over two decades. It investigates the links between architecture and community in relation to the development of one particular municipal housing estate, and using architectural plans, and photographic evidence it will illustrate how each had, to some extent or other, followed in the steps of Unwin in order to create what they considered the ideal community. To what extent their schemes were to fit the lives of the people who were to live there will be considered in the second part of the narrative on community and the built environment. Using taped interviews it will examine the lived experiences of a small sample of the original residents, and will illustrate how a sense of community existed on the estate, independent of what the planners had intended for the residents. It will also establish how the life that they had led in the working-class areas of Birkenhead was transferred almost intact to Woodchurch.

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