1. Levittown was the model on which the North American automobile suburb was built. How are modern suburbs different from this original version?
Levitt and Sons designed a small house on one floor and an unfinished "expansion attic" that could be rapidly constructed and as rapidly rented out to returning GIs and their young families. Levitt and Sons built the community with an eye towards speed, efficiency, and cost-effective construction. Modern suburbs are different from this original version by being built with pedestrian-friendly streets cradling a mass-transit-served town center surrounded by a mix of housing alternatives. Mass transit such as light rail trains, buses and subways are all within walking distance from most homes and businesses. The goal of transit is to have fewer car trips and highways, shorter commutes, less car-exhaust pollution and more time for family and community life. Mixed-use zoning allows for shops, restaurants, offices, and homes all to be within walking distance of each other or even in the same building. With most of life’s necessities within walking distance, fewer car trips are made, easing pollution and encouraging community interaction. Allowing for apartments and offices above stores provides patronage for shops, living space for lower-income residents, and activity for the sidewalk. An interconnected street network distributes traffic evenly and makes walking easy by offering direct routes between points. Connected streets ease traffic by providing drivers with alternative routes, making streets narrower and safer to cross and less land intensive. Different housing types such as apartments, row houses and detached homes occupy the same neighborhood. People of different income levels can mingle and may come to better understand each other.
2. Relative to your ideal life, how closely did you associate happiness with material prosperity? Is this quotient more or less pronounced than the World War II generation? In...
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