* Jeremy Allan Hawkins *
At the turn of the twentieth century, the increasingly poor living conditions in central Strasbourg were the subject of study by municipal housing associations. Inspectors discovered buildings in advanced stages of dilapidation, often with large groups of people living in small single rooms with chronic humidity problems. Many residents lived in housing with no windows or direct light of any kind. Outside, the streets were narrow and dirty, spotted with dung heaps and all kinds of garbage. At the time, journalists and surveyors were openly referring to the old city center as resembling a cesspit or an open sewer. The city leaders decided a radical action would need to be taken to address the problem.