This type of dwelling is known by different names in different geographical areas of the world. In Australia for example it is commonly called a unit – a shortened version of home unit, in England a flat, in Scotland a tenement -although this term has somewhat negative connotations outside of Scotland, and in North America it is normally known as an apartment. Winston Salem, a fast growing city in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina has in recent years expanded its stock of apartment housing in order to accommodate the rising population of the city, many young professionals being attracted to the area by the rapid growth of industries such a nanotech, bio-tech and medical research.
The apartments Winston salem occupy only part of the building in which they are housed. These are most commonly known in American English as apartment buildings or apartment houses. In England they are often referred to as tower blocks, blocks of flats or more unusually as mansion blocks, especially where the building is a conversion of an existing somewhat grandiose structure, although in recent years the term apartment has started to be used to describe what used to known as flats in more expensive areas, for instance Mayfair, or Park Lane in London.
Residents here, mainly fall into one of two groups. Either they are owner/occupiers with leasehold tenure or tenants of rental apartments, hence the name tenement. Peculiar to the United Kingdom, and in evidence most notably in the more wealthy exclusive areas, is an arrangement known as a ‘share of freehold’. Under this agreement owners have shares in a company that owns the ‘freehold’ of the entire building as well as owning the lease on the flat itself. This rather complicated arrangement allows the freehold company to collect ground rents from each of the flat owners in the building and also leaves the freeholder with the power to sell or develop the building.
In the United States co-ops are common. Under this arrangement apartment occupiers own shares in a corporation that owns the whole building in which the apartments are housed. Condominiums are also popular. In a condominium, residents own their own apartments and share ownership of public areas. Mostly, apartments in North America, are in buildings specifically designed for the purpose although it is not unusual to find larger houses that have been split to accommodate smaller living spaces. Conversions of unused industrial spaces have also become increasing popular. Many of the rental apartments in Winston Salem fall into this category, especially in the revitalized downtown area of the city.
Apartments come in many shapes and sizes. In recent years the terms studio apartment or bachelor apartment have become popular. A studio apartment is basically one largish room, which serves as living room, dining room and bedroom all in one. Usually studio apartments have separate kitchen and bathroom facilities.
One step up from a studio, is a one bedroom apartment in which the sleeping area is separate from the living area. Two and three bedroom apartments are also common although it is rare to find an apartment with more than three bedrooms.