A concept that originated in England
after the Second World War
, when new housing needed to be built quickly and cheaply. The first council estates were well-planned with large houses and gardens to suit large families. However, by the Sixties, the shortage of housing and local authority budgets meant cheaper materials and less thoughtful planning, resulting in uncomfortable, cramped, badly built housing and tower blocks. (I blame Le Corbusier
.. see also Alison Smithson
and Peter Smithson
, who built the grim high-rises in Sheffield). Now council estates are often places where nobody wants to live, and so are filled with people who nobody wants anywhere else.
British movies use them as a cliché location for grim dramas about the unemployed: e.g. Rita, Sue and Bob Too