People have always needed shelter from the elements, and a place where they could rest, eat and sleep together with family and relatives. Initially these shelters were caves, tents and primitive huts but later, with the development of architecture, some wonderful structures were built to house people and give them a place to call home. These structures or residences vary greatly in the modern world and can be classified according to purpose, ownership and structure.
Residences vary in terms of purpose because while some provide temporary accommodation, others provide more permanent accommodation. In the modern world, travel has become much easier and people are constantly hopping on planes and travelling halfway across the world in a matter of hours. These trips may involve business or pleasure but whatever the purpose, the traveler needs temporary accommodation in the form of a hotel, motel, holiday resort or hostel when he reaches his destination. His stay at this temporary residence will depend on the duration of his trip. The presence of hotels and the like all over the world has made it much easier for people to visit far off places, get to know new people and learn about different cultures.
Residences vary in terms of ownership as well: some are state owned and others are privately owned. State owned residences are constructed in welfare states like the UK and the USA for instance to provide accommodation for the poor and disadvantaged. Called public housing, these residences are constructed in the form of big complexes and are given out to the neediest. Top of the list are single mothers, the elderly and those with disabilities. Public housing has been widely criticized for being hot beds of crime and for promoting the gang culture but they are impossible to do without as well. Privately owned property on the other hand comprises flats or houses purchased by private individuals. Individuals acquire houses or flats either to live in themselves or to rent out as a source of income. In short, whether they are in government housing, rented accommodation or their own place, everyone gets somewhere to call home.
Residences aren’t all constructed in the same way: some are single storey, some are high rises or anything in between; some are stone structures, others are made of wood or synthetic material. Whereas in the past, single, two or three storey houses with gardens were more common, in the modern world, big apartment complexes are more widely seen thanks to the population explosion in the last couple of centuries. Lack of space has pushed buildings up in order to make more efficient use of space. The building materials vary greatly as well: while the carcasses of most homes in the past were wood, today they are steal; whereas most houses were built using natural materials like stone and wood in the past, today bricks and mortar are the building materials of choice. Whatever material is used, the houses or flats are built to last and provide a permanent residence for families and individuals.
To sum up, a residence could be a house or a flat, a hotel or a holiday resort, rented or privately owned and built using a variety of material. The ultimate purpose of all forms of housing, however, remains the same: to provide warmth, comfort and shelter. A second purpose of residences is to enable communities to live together in close proximity, form bonds, cooperate, socialize and work together. In this respect, they are of paramount importance.