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The Pioneering “Levittowner”

Working paper #556
Witold Rybczynski

In a series of planned communities built in the 1950s, William Levitt & Sons introduced the American public to modern production building, and demonstrated how standardization, mass-production, and technical innovation could be successfully used to produce houses for a large market. They proved that working Americans were attracted to suburban living no less than their wealthier counterparts. Finally, they showed how entrepreneurial efforts could create cheap, quick, lasting, and flexible housing that could not have been provided by government efforts. This paper describes the details of the community and house design of Levittown, Pa., and discusses the relevance of these concepts to production housing today.

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