Every morning their bedrooms are abandoned for their daytime home

Recent years have seen a huge rise in the numbers of commuters. The dream is of living in a small town on the edge of the city, a nice house, good community, pleasant town centre all within driving distance of the city and your job. The idea is that by driving that far home every night you somehow manage to leave you work in the city… well, that is the theory anyway…

… the population surges into the capital draining the surrounding areas of life…

The first people who could afford to drive into the city must have succeeded. The towns on the edges of the sprawl would have been small communities which the odd one or two commuters could slip into neatly without disrupting life too much for those earning a living off the local economy. They would have experienced the tranquillity of being able to leave work at the office and return home to a different and more calming environment. I guess you could even fantasise that the drive was much less stressful than today due to lower traffic levels. Unfortunately, as with so many paradise locations, the rush of people eager to live the dream destroyed it in the process. The 1960's started the trend to move away from the inner-city areas known as counter urbanisation. Developers saw their chance and started throwing up housing in and around towns on the outskirts of the edges of major cities. Some were built in existing towns; others were constructed for the sole purpose of being a place to sleep away from work. The new housing was cheaper allowing more and more people to move away from work and into the expanding towns. They began to grow and spread out in all directions, sometimes merging with others, forming large areas of housing sprawl.

… and so they die during the day…

The communities and tranquillity craved by the pioneers of commuting were destroyed. Communities only work if there are people around to bring them to life, and tranquillity is lost when the population has to rise every morning and fight its way into the city. There are few local high streets and the town centres are home to chain stores and franchises manned by those not making the dash into the city themselves, but usually tied to someone who is. The original inhabitants usually get pushed out of the way to make space for the new houses.

…only to be resuscitated in the evenings as everyone falls asleep.

This is the essence of the dormitory town. A place to sleep which is abandoned by the population during the day. They can be found on the edges of many major cities in the U.K. Most of the dormitory towns for London commuters lie close to, or directly on the M25 forming an urban halo around the capital. The new towns of Basildon, Harlow or Farnborough are good examples around London although they exist around all the major cities in the country.

Part of Wertperch's nodeshell challenge

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