Over-crowded Worlds

It is widely believed that the world is overcrowded. But is it?

Let us take the British Isles, consisting of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Eire, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man as an example.

The area of land needed to house the present roughly seventy million inhabitants would comfortably fit into a forty kilometre radius.

To achieve this, there would be need to be sixteen houses per acre with four persons to a house, each house on a plot of 9 by 30 metres, in groups of four. This results in a density of 64 persons per acre, which is less than the 100-200 per acre that is average in many cities today. The remaining area of the British Isles would then be available for factories, shops, public buildings, parks, farms, mines, etc.

Now it is not proposed of course that we house the whole population of the British Isles within the forty kilometre radius of the centre of London. The example serves only to illustrate how little land is required to house seventy million, giving each plenty of living space.

A further consideration arises out of surveys carried out by the British ministries of Housing and Agriculture. These reports indicated that the retail value of the garden produce grown and actually consumed on an average acre of twelve houses slightly exceeded the value, at retail prices, of the output of an average acre of farm land (including market garden land.) Further, when housing was developed at a density of about eight houses to the acre, the average amount of land under fruit and vegetables tended to be more than half as much again as when developed at about twelve houses to the acre.

An area of land, at eight houses to the acre, four persons to each house would have a radius of 55 kilometres from the centre of London, adequately providing the space required.

It is important to note that this area of land, some 9,500 square kilometres, being in reality dispersed throughout the country, need not be lost to food production. At eight houses to the acre, as the Ministries of Housing and Agriculture studies show, the land could yield a greater value of foodstuffs than if devoted purely to agriculture.

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