Therefore is the name of it called Babel
And still we stood and stared far down
Into that ember-glowing town
Which every shaft and shock of fate
Had shorn into its base.
Too lateCame carelessly Serenity.
Now torn and broken houses gaze
On the rat-infested maze
That once sent up rose-silver haze
To mingle through eternity.
The outlines, once so strongly wrought,
Of city walls, are now a thought
Or jest unto the dead who fought...
Foundation for futurity.
Deep sunk in sin, this tragic star
Sinks deeper still, and wages war
Against itself; strewn all the seas
With victims of a world disease.-
And we are left to drink the lees
Of Babel's direful prophecy.
Babel by Oswald Sitwell
Over the past two weeks nightly we have been shown the burning and rioting by gangs of youths through the outer cities of France.The blame has been pointed at the low economic participation of the emmigre , the difficulties of assimilation for the immigrants and the hard response from the Interior Minister Mr Sarkozy.
In January 2003 Jon Henley as reported in the Guardian wrote .
"Funnelled between grey tower blocks, a bitter wind shrieks across Val-Fourré's main square. The few shoppers there hug the concrete walls for shelter. Kids hang around on corners in big-logo parkas and tight woollen hats, smoking, joking, staring. Here you'll be fine, someone says. But don't go down to the end of the road, not on your own.
It is claimed that Val-Fourré is Europe's largest council estate, housing 28,000 people (officially; the real figure is far higher) from 29 different ethnic groups in high-rise, run-down blocks built in the 60s and 70s for immigrant workers at the car factories that then lined the Seine valley...... It's the end of the republican ideal. The French republic deals with citizens, not individuals. But here, people aren't citizens. They don't know what they are. Not Algerian or Moroccan or west African, but not French citizens either. They're unrecognised, unremembered and unrepresented. No wonder they rebel." http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,11882,869803,00.html
These are only the symptoms of the underlying cause.The socialist creation of the modernist housing tenenment,the PROJECTS.The ESTATES .The CITIES. The failed social experiment that enhances crime,poverty,and disease by the failure to intergrate lower economic groups into the median classes by creating distributed colonies of a new underclass.
These high rise new towers of Babel are spread throughout the cities of Europe,and North America creating filing cabinets for the disenfranchised that allowed order to be created for the efficent ,automated standard housing system.The architectural modernism inspired by Le Corbusier was that form should follow function.The design of the building should be stuctured by what it does.The product of social necessity, not the expression or the fitness of use for the individual thus supplanting quantitative form over qualitative functuality.
We have seen some breaking of the modernist form towards the post modernist.It was described by Charles Jenck the Architectural critic as precise moment of 3.30 pm onJuly 15 1972 in St Louis ,Missouri.The demolition of the Pruitt -Igoe housing project the high rise tower of Babel.
High density low economic housing estates are a failed social experiment.The form or the style matters least in its causuality, the outcome of these agglomerations is always the same.The insertion of social housing into all the housing wealth bands will create better assimilation,diversty,and competition of individuals.It will create better education outcomes in local schooling.It is better to raise the bar not lower it.