Although housing in Bethnal Green was often appalling, a complex network of relatives - families of three generations held together by the powerful mother-daughter bond at the centre - was always available to provide mutual aid and a sense of community. It was when families were rehoused in the immaculate new estates outside London, miles away from their kin, that the vital support system broke down, with disastrous effects on the quality of people's lives.This famous book, based on a major three-year research project, makes clear how planners have frequently failed to understand real human needs; it also provides a marvellous portrait of the resilience and generosity of spirit which went at least some way to compensate for the deptivations of inner-city working-class life.
Michael Young is Director of the Institute of Community Studies, President of the Consumer's Association and of the National Extension College and Chairman of both the International Extension College and the Open College of the Arts. His publications include The Rise of the Meritocracy, Innovation and Research in Education, and The Metronomic Society: Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables.Peter Willmott is a Senior Fellow at the Policy Studies Institute. Chairman of the Institute of Community Studies and Visiting Professor of Social Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics. The authors were founder memebers of the Institute of Community Studies and have also written jointly Family and Class in a London Suburb and The Symmetrical Family.