Levittown Case Study

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Levittown: Making America Suburban
For decades our egalitarian society has promised the ‘American dream’. A job, car, family, a dog, and a home. This dream has fueled Americans to expand, construct, and organize our society in such a way that this dream could be possible to every US citizen. No single man has done more for Americans than William Levitt. Contracted by the federal government post-war to quickly build housing for military personnel, Levitt applied the techniques of mass production to construction. In 1947, he set out to create Levittown, the largest planned-living community of its kind in the United States on a potato farm he owned in Long Island, New York. The creation of Levittown had a larger impact on America than any other
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By the end of World War II, 16 million GIs were returning to America. Being away from home for so long, these soldiers were ready to start a normal life back here in the states, including starting a family. Soldiers who had already had families prior to the war were in some cases forced to live in barns, toolsheds, and abandoned trolley cars. Levitt took advantage of Americas housing issue and began building. Funded by GI loans, soldiers could afford a Levittown home fitted with: A stove, refrigerator, washing machine, and an oil burner. Levitt’s low price of a 90$ deposit, and only 58$/month rent, was both affordable and appealing. Levitt determined that there were precisely 27 different steps to build a house, meaning 27 different teams of builders needed to be hired to construct the homes. Jobs at this time were being created due to post-war re-construction all over the United States, and with the extra cash flow in the economy, motor companies began rolling cars out onto the market once again. The construction of mass highways and interstates meant that people could travel further for work, and people desired to flee from the decaying cities in which they lived in. Within one year, Levitt was building 36 houses per day. America was rich in ‘the good life’, and a time of prosperity was at hand. Families that had …show more content…
Residential construction, which had been dormant during the depression and the war, suddenly skyrocketed as homecoming veterans married and began families. William Levitt’s decision to begin a construction revolution, changed our country forever. For veterans it meant a safe and quiet home with a new family. For other Americans, detached residences and private gardens seemed far more desirable than the cramped quarters of the city. Seeing the opportunity for a new beginning, many migrated from cities to suburbs. The construction of Levittown was the most iconic and revolutionary invention of the mid-20th century, and our standards are forever influenced by one man’s decision to create an American

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