Page:Garden Cities.djvu/20

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

completely recognised and the inference is reasonable that the want of fresh air may induce the debility which the supply of fresh air has been proved to remedy. I do not think it is or can be seriously contested that the principal cause of the comparative unhealthiness of town life is the scant opportunity afforded for enjoying fresh air. Between the healthiness of outdoor and indoor employment, whether in town or country, there is no comparison, but indoor employment in the country is far healthier than similar employment in a great town. This is not only due to the exhaustion and pollution of the air of the cities, there are many other contributing causes. The crowding of buildings interferes with the access of air and light to the shops and offices and leads to the use of air exhausting illuminants. The same is true of working class dwellings. Moreover, while the countryman walks to his work, the townsman travels by tram or train generally under very crowded and unhealthy conditions, and, finally, the townsman has little or no inducement to take, or indeed opportunity for taking, recreation in the open air. When the matter is attentively examined the wonder is not that physical deterioration is noticeable but that it is no greater, and when to the consideration of the physical conditions of town life is added the universal ignorance of dietetic requirements and the general intemperance in the use of stimulants one realises the marvellous adaptibility of the human frame to adverse conditions of existence. But this consideration must not blind us to the fact that in the conditions of life of vast numbers of the working class and of clerks and shop attendants male and female, we are confronted with a great evil. In spite of smooth sayings the physical deterioration which results is appalling; infant mortality in certain classes is a scandal to civilisation, and no man of intelligence, who will give impartial consideration to the matter, can fail to be profoundly