Suburbanization and Levittowns

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After the War people were looking forward to the transition from a wartime economy to one of peace. Now, items that had not been available for purchase in almost a decade would now be for sale once more. One of the things that was in the highest demand was housing. The housing market was huge. So many people were forced to be living in homes with their relatives, or in trailers, or anything they could find. Stories tell of people living in modified train cars, shacks, virtually anything, circulated. The government decided to take action, creating a new construction bill for five million homes. The Federal housing Administration was in charge of taking the money granted towards these projects and allocating it towards the construction of new houses.

The Levitt family had the biggest impact on postwar housing. This family decided that in order to solve the housing problem, and in order to make the most profit, construction needed to be made more efficient. They created “Levittowns”, where every house was set up on a cookie cutter plot, and every house was identical to the others. In this way, they could minimize the amount of time required to make a new house, and they could sell them in large quantities. They also set up an assembly line technique of assembling houses in parts. Each man had his own job, and many parts of the house were constructed previously and then brought on site to be put up. The Levitt family also put verticle integration to use, by making their own concrete, their own lumber, etc. Through all of this, they were able to build affordable houses both quickly and cheaply. Once completed, these homes were available for sale to Vets and their families. Levittown consisted of more than 17,400 single family homes, and 82,000 residents. What appealed to people the most was that they could get a good sized, standard home and yard for cheap, for Levittown houses were around $1,500 less than competitors. Also, people liked the idea of being in a...
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