“How the other half live” is the story of the poor and low income Americans¬† lived. Introduction from http://www.ushistory.org/us/38b.asp

Tenements

Much of the urban poor, including a majority of incoming immigrants, lived in tenement housing. If the skyscraper was the jewel of the American city, the tenement was its boil. In 1878, a publication offered $500 to the architect who could provide the best design for mass-housing. James E. Ware won the contest with his plan for a dumbbell tenement. This structure was thinner in the center than on its extremes to allow light to enter the building, no matter how tightly packed the tenements may be. Unfortunately, these “vents” were often filled with garbage. The air that managed to penetrate also allowed a fire to spread from one tenement to the next more easily.¬† [Read the rest]