By a C.H. Reporter The news that Sweden is shortly to send us prefabricated houses led me to ask Miss Cicely Hamilton, who has made a special study of housing in Sweden, about the way in which the people of that country tackle their own housing problems.
What she told me was both surprising and illuminating. Here we have a country which 's one of the most progressive in the world, allowing private individuals to get busy themselves and put up their own houses with their own hands ! Not a haphazard affair, however. The whole thing is controlled by a benevolent municipality and the scheme provides an embarrassing contrast to the eyesore development which this country allowed dishonest building speculators to perpetrate after the Jast war and which came to full fruition in the Dawnland defacement known as Peacehaven.
First of all, only those whose income is below a certain limit are allowed to benefit by the scheme. But,
once the aspirant satisfies the authorities that he is a bona fide case this is what happens._ He goes to the Real Estate Office of the Stockholm municipality, is allocated a plot of ground and the ground and building materials are given to him on credit. The prospective owner helped by the family then goes ahead, using his spare time for building, laying the foundations
and raising the walls (This is even allowed to people who already have a house in the town and want a country cottage,) No money advance is made, but everything required for the building is provided. When the house is completed he begins to pay rent from which is deducted ten per cent. in lieu of the work he has put into the building.
(Plumbing, the installation of electricity, and other work in the erection of the house, which requires skilled labour and the supervision of an expert. is contributed by the municipality so that the only amateur work which the owner has done is the actual building and carpentering.) Since all the parts of the house are mass-produced—prefabricated, in other words—assembly is easy. As to the rent payable after the 10 per cent. deduction—this is covered by a loan from the municipality which carries interest and is redeemable in thirty years. The sites never become freehold. Stockholm does not sell its land outright. The houses, which arc built to various speNfications. are roomy and can be of one or two storeys. Great economy of space is affected by the use of a brick-built semi-basement in which are housed the central heating stove, the bath, lavatoriei. store-cupboards and washer boilers.
As to whether thit country could adopt such a scheme Miss Hamilton is rather sceptical. 'She sees opposition frdm the trade unions,