The fact that "settlement houses" were really residences has been obscured with the passing of time and the shift in functions of those venerable institutions. But Addams and Starr, like others in England and around the United States, went to live among the poor in order to learn what was needed to improve their conditions. Hull House, as Addams's settlement came to be known, soon welcomed other residents, most often middle- or upper-class women concerned to be of service in an era that offered few opportunities to realize such an ambition. One of the first projects, which was a model for many later efforts, was a survey of the neighborhood residents, designed to learn about their backgrounds, occupations, living conditions, and health problems. The survey—in its conception and methods a forerunner of modern sociology—helped the settlement house team understand their new neighborhood, an area in which a remarkably diverse group of poor people were packed together in overcrowded, unsanitary living conditions.