What does the future hold for the problem of housing? A good deal depends, of course, on the meaning of “future”. If one is thinking in terms of science fiction and the space age, it is at least possible to assume that man will have solved such trivial and earthly problems as housing. Writers of science fiction, from H.G. Wells onwards, have had little to say on the subject. They have conveyed the suggestion that men will live in great comfort, with every conceivable apparatus to make life smooth, healthy and easy, if not happy. But they have not said what his house will be made of. Perhaps some new building material, as yet unimagined, will have been discovered or invented at least. One may be certain that bricks and mortar(泥灰，灰浆) will long have gone out of fashion.
But the problems of the next generation or two can more readily be imagined. Scientists have already pointed out that unless something is done either to restrict the world’s rapid growth in population or to discover and develop new sources of food (or both), millions of people will be dying of starvation or at the best suffering from underfeeding before this century is out. But nobody has yet worked out any plan for housing these growing populations. Admittedly the worst situations will occur in the hottest parts of the world, where housing can be light structure or in backward areas where standards are traditionally low. But even the minimum shelter requires materials of some kind and in the teeming, bulging towns the low-standard “housing” of flattened petrol cans and dirty canvas is far more wasteful of ground space than can be tolerated.
Since the war, Hong Kong has suffered the kind of crisis which is likely to arise in many other places during the next generation. Literally millions of refugees arrived to swell the already growing population and emergency steps had to be taken rapidly to prevent squalor(肮脏)and disease and the spread crime. The city is tackling the situation energetically and enormous blocks of tenements(贫民住宅)are rising at an astonishing aped. But Hong Kong is only one small part of what will certainly become a vast problem and not merely a housing problem, because when population grows at this rate there are accompanying problems of education, transport, hospital services, drainage, water supply and so on. Not every area may give the same resources as Hong Kong to draw upon and the search for quicker and cheaper methods of construction must never cease.
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