Self-help housing in peri-urban areas (usually outside municipal boundaries) is a feature, not only of rapidly urbanizing countries now in the South, but was also in Victorian England, where it was often initiated by freehold land societies, created by the Chartist movement in order to expand the franchise. These bodies bought and subdivided land for sale to their members, and laid out roads, using legal powers conferred upon the building societies. The societies made a significant contribution to housing for the urban working class, and preceded the garden city and town planning movement promoted by Liberal politicians. A case study is presented of one successful provincial society, the Ipswich and Suffolk Freehold Land Society. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
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